Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Ethan Allen's Narrative of the capture of Ticonderoga : his captivity and treatment by the British"

See other formats







wiBH^'E'iisr w"^ mwi^iEMFo' 








» MX WA ML MK m^m^m^m 

mk mWi mm. m»\ wF M ml 



§t0 OlaptitJitg anh STrcatmeut bg tl)c iBritbf). 





Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1838, by 


in the Cleric's OiPxe of the District of Vermont. 


No apology need be offered for presenting a new Edition of the fol- 
lowing Narrative, of one of the most remarkable men of the age in which 
he lived. It is given in the plain language of its self-educated author, 
without any alteration. The Senior publisher has been intimately ac- 
quainted with his widow, who died about ten years since, and has been 
assured by her that this narrative is printed as he wrote it without alter- 
ation ; and, that it shows more of his true character, than all else ever 
written of him. 

Little is known of the life of Col. Allen, but what is found in Bio- 
graphical Dictionaries, Spark's American Biography, and his Memoirs 
written by Mr Moore, from whose introduction the following just tribute 
to his memory is copied : 

"Perhaps no individual, of equal advantages, and the station he oc- 
cupied in life, contributed more towards establishing the independence 
of our country, than Ethan Allen, the subject of this memoir. The 
mass of the people among whom he resided, were rude and uncultiva- 
ted ; yet bold in spirit and zealous in action. It consequently followed, 
that no one, save a man of strong natural endowments — of much decis- 
ion, energy and bravery, could control their prejudices and inclinations. 
Habit had rendered them familiar with danger, and impatient of re- 
straint ; hence, it followed, that no policy, unless proceeding from a source 
in which they had confidence, ever gained their approbation. Upon Al- 
len, whose courage was undoubted, and v.iiose zealous devotion to their 
interests was universally acknowledged, they implicitly relied. They 
had knov.'n him in adversity and prosperity — they had weighed him, and 
found nothing lacking. To friend or foe, he was ever the same unyield- 
ing advocate of the rights of man, and universal liberty. The policy, 
therefore he upheld, as beneficial to the common cause of American lib- 
erty, ever found strong and efficient supporters in the friends with whom 
he associated, and by whom he was kaown. 

From the commencement of our Revolutionary struggle, until its final 
close, Kthan Allen proved a zealous and strenuous supporter of the 
cause. Whether in the Held or the council — whether at home, a free- 
man among the mountains of Vermont, or loaded with the manacles of 
despotism, in a foreign country, his spirit never quailed beneath the sneer 
6f the tory, or the harsh threats of insolent authority. A stranger to 
fear, his opinions were ever given without disguise or hesitation : and, 


an enemy to oppression, he sought every opportunity to redress the 
wrongs of the oppressed. It is not to be supposed, however, that he 
was faultless. Like other men, he had his errors — like other men, his 
foibles. Yet he was not wilfully stubborn in either. When convinced 
of an erronecus position, he was ever willing to yield a victory ; but, 
in theory, as in practice, he contested every inch of ground ; and only 
yielded when he had no weapons left to meet his antagonist. This trait 
in his character serves, at least, to prove, that he was honest in his con- 
clusions, however erroneous the premises from which they were deduced. 
Much error of opinion prevails among all classes of individuals, at the 
present period, in relation to the character of Col. Allen. He is gene- 
rally viewed as a coarse, ignorant man, void of all the social feelings, 
and arrogant in all his pretensions. Even Mr. Dwight, in his " Travels 
in New England," reports him in this light ; and deems him only wor- 
thy a brief and unjust notice in his work. In what manner Mr. Dwight 
came in possession of the facts upon which he predicated his conclusions, 
is beyond the knowledge of the author of this Memoir : but, certain it 
is, he has materially misrepresented the moral principles, and in fact, the 
general character of Col. Allen. It is presumed, however, that Mr. 
Dwight, like many other travelers, drew his inferences from the gossip 
of the people among whom he associated, without being at the trouble of 
extending his inquiries to a source from whence he might have derived 
every material fact in relation to the subject. In making this suggestion, 
ihe author would not be understood as attaching any particular blame to 
Mr. Dwight ; but merely as correcting an error of opinion which is 
quite too prevalent in our country." 

Burlington, Vt. Aug. 1st, 1848 




In announcing the publication of this htlle, simple, true, and unvarn- 
ished narrative, the publishers have complied with the wishes of a num- 
ber of persons, vvho had a desire to keep in remembrance the hero of 
Ticonderoga, and the exploits he performed. It i§ believed that there 
is not a copy for sale in any bookstore in the United States; and the 
style of printing, at the time of its first appearance, which is now near 
thirty years since, was in so unimproved a condition, that it has never 
been seen but in the shabby dress of a large and ragged pamphlet. The 
events of those " troublous times," in wiiich Col. Allen took a conspic- 
uous part, are rendered doubly interesting from the lively, unadorned ' 
manner of his own narration. The high compliments which he pays to the 
prowess, uniform perseverance and resolution, manifested by the " Green 
Mountain Boys" of his native State, will no doubt be an inducement to 
them, and to his countrymen generally, to read and preserve this monu- 
ment of him, and, as they con the pages of this " little book" which he 
Jias " left them," lo imitate the coolness and courage of the deceased 

The sufferings and cruelties borne by him and his fellow soldiers, fre- 
quently draw from him in the course of his narrative, a language the 
most severe, with respect to a country from whom we originated, with 
whom we are now at peace, and with whom it is our policy to continue 
on' a friendly footing ; but the candid and the feeling mind should make 
great allowance for the unparalled situation of our affairs, for the suffer- 
ings of his handful of little " Spartans," for whom he felt a father's and 
a brother's aff'ection. These circumstances must have given a deep col- 
oring to the pencil which was portraying his own and his country's 
wrongs. On the whole, we think this little tract may be re-perused, 
with advantage and pleasure, by the aged, and read with much edifica- 
iton and entertainment by the young. As it is deemed that the very 
words, in every respect made use of by the Colonel, would be more ac- 
ceptable to the reader, than any artificial decoration of style, we shall 
invariably adhere to tfic originr!,!. 


Induced by a sense of duty to my country, and by the application of 
many of my worthy friends, some of whom are of the first characters, I 
have concluded to publish the following narrative of the extraordinary 
scenes of my captivity, and the discoveries which I made in the course 
of the same, of the cruel and relentless disposition and the behaviour of 
the enemy, towards the prisoners in their power ; from which the state 
politician, and every gradation of character among the people, to the 
worthy tiller of the soil, may deduce such inferences as they shall think 
proper to carry into practice. Some men are appointed into office, in 
these States, who read the history of the cruelties of this war, with the 
same careless indifference, as they do the pages of the Roman history ; 
nay, some are preferred to places of trust and profit by the tory influ- 
ence. The instances are (I hope) but rare, and it stands all freemen in 
hand to prevent their further influence, which, of all other things, would 
be the most baneful to the liberties and happiness of this country ; and, 
so far as such influence takes place, robs us of the victory we have ob- 
tained at the expense of so much blood and treasure. 

I should have exhibited to the public a history of the facts herein 
contained, soon after my exchange, had not the urgency of my private 
affairs, together with more urgent public business, demanded my atten- 
tion, till a few weeks before the date hereof. The reader will readily dis- 
cern, that a Narrative of this sort could not have been written when I 
was a prisoner. My trunk and writings were often searched under va- 
rious pretences ; so that I never wrote a syllable, or made even a rougli 
minute whereon I might predicate this narration, but trusted solely to 
my memory for the whole. 1 have, however, taken the greatest care and 
pains to recollect the facts and arrange tliem ; but as they touch a variety of 
characters and opposite interests, I am sensible that all will not be pleased 
with the relation of them. Be this as it will, I have made truth my inva.iu- 
ble guide, and stake my honor on ihe truth of (he facts. I have been very 
generous with the British in giving them full and ample credit for all 
iheir good usage, of any considerable consequence, which I met with 
among them, during my captivity ; which was easily done, as I met 
with but little, in comparison of the bad, which, by reason of the great 
plurality of it, could not be contained in so concise a narrative ; so that 
I am certain tiiat I have more fully enumerated the favors which I re- 
ceived, than the abuses I suffered. The critic will be pleased to excuse 
any inaccuracies in the performance itself, as the author has unfortunate- 
ly missed of a liberal education. 

Bennington, March 25, 1779. 


Ever since I arrived at the state of manhood, and acquainted myself 
with the general history of mankind, I have felt a sincere passion for 
liberty. The history of nations, doomed to perpetual slavery, in conse- 
quence of yielding up to tyrants their natural-born liberties, I read with 
a sort of philosophical horror ; so that the first systematical and bloody 
attempt at Lexington, to enslave America, thoroughly electrified my 
mind, and fully determined me to take part with my country. And, 
while I was wishing for an opportunity to signalize myself in its behalf, 
directions were privately sent to me from the then colony, (now state) of 
Connecticut, to raise the Green Mountain Boys, and, if possible, to sur- 
prise and take the fortress of Ticonderoga. This enterprise I cheerfully 
undertook ; and, after first guarding all the several passes that led thither, 
to cut off all intelligence between the garrison and the country, made a 
forced march from Bennington, and arrived at the lake opposite to Ti- 
conderoga,* on the evening' of the ninth day of May, 1775, with two 
hundred and thirty valiant Green Mountain Boys ; and it was with the 
utmost difficulty that I procured boats to cross the lake. However, I 
landed eighty-three men near the garrison, and sent the boats back for 
the rear guard, commanded by Col. Seth ¥/arner, but the day began to 
dawn, and I found myself under a necessity to attack the fort, before 

*Ths ' Ticonderoga Fort' is thus described in the American Encyclopedia: — 
Ticonderoga ; a post-town of Essex county, New York, on the west side of the 
south end of Lake Champlain, and at the north end of lake Georo-e ; twelve miles 
south of Crown Point, ninety-tive north of Albany; population in 1820, 1493. There 
is a valuable iron mine in this township. — Ticonderoga Fori, famous in^he history of 
the American wars, is situated on an eminence, on the west side of lake Champlain, 
just north of the entrance of the outlet from lake George into lake Champlain, fifteen 
maed south of Crown Point, twenty-four north of Whitehall ; Ion. 73 deg. 27.' W.; lat. 
43 deg. 30!. N. It is now in ruins. Considerable remains of the fortifications are 
still to bo seen. The stone walls of the fort, which are now standing, are in some 
places, thirty feet hioh. Mount Defiance lies about a mile south of the fort, and Mount 
Independence is about half a mile distant, on the opposite side of the lake, in Orwell, 

It was built by the French, in the year 175G, and had all the advantages that art 
and nature could give it ; being defended on three sides by water, surrounded by rocks, 
and where that fails, the French erected a breastwork nine feet high. The English 
and Colonial troops, under General Abercrombie were defeated here in the year 1758, 
but it was taken in the year following by General Amherst. It was surprised by Col- 
onels Allen and Arnold, May 10, 1775. Was retaken by General Burgoyne in July, 
1777, and was evacuated after his surrender, the garrison returning to St. Johns. 


the rear could cross the lake ; and, as it was viewed hazardous, I har- 
rangued the officers and soldiers in the manner following : 

" Friends and fellow soldiers, You have, for a number of years past 
been a scourge and terror to arbitrary power. Your valor has been 
famed abroad, and acknowledged, as appears by the advice and orders 
to me, from the General Assembly of Connecticut, to surprise and take 
the garrision now before us. I now propose to advance before you, and 
in person, conduct you through the wicket-gate ; forvve must this morning 
either quit our pretensions to valor, or possess ourselves of this fortress in 
a few minutes ; and, inasmuch as it is a desperate attempt, which none 
but the bravest of men dare undertake, I do not urge it on any contrary 
to his will. You that will undertake voluntarily, poise your firelocks." — 

The men being, at this time, drawn up in three ranks, each poised 
his firelock. I ordered them to face to the right, and at the head of the 
centre-file, marched them immediately to the wicket-gate aforesaid, 
where I found a sentry posted, who instantly snapped his fusee at me ; I 
ran immediately towards him, and he retreated through the covered way 
into the parade within the garrison, gave a halloo, and ran under a bomb- 
proof. My party, who followed me into the fort, I formed on the pa- 
rade in such a manner as to face the two barracks which faced-each 

The garrison being asleep, except the sentries, we gave three huzzas 
which greatly surprised them. One of the sentries made a pass at one 
of my officers with a charged bayonet, and slightly wounded him : My 
first thought was to kill him with my sword ; but in an instant, I altered 
the design and fury of the blow to a slight cut on the side of the head ; 
upon which he dropped his gun, and asked quarter, which I readily grant- 
ed him, and demanded of him the place where the commanding officer 
kept; he shewed me a pair of stairs in the front of a barrack, on the 
west part of the garrison, which led up a second story in said barrack, 
to which I immediately repaired, and ordered the commander, Capt. De 
La Place, to come forth instantly, or I would sacrifice the whole garrison ; 
at which the Capt. came immediately to the door with his breeches in his 
hand ; when I ordered him to deliver me the fort instantly ; he asked me 
by what authority I demanded it; I answered him " In the name of the 
great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress.^^* The authority of 
the Congress being very little known at that time, he began to speak 
again ; but I interrupted him, and with my draw n sword over his head, 
again demanded an immediate surrender of the garrison ; with which he 
then complied, and ordered his men to be forthwith paraded without 
arms, as he had given up the garrison. In the mean time some of my 
officers had given orders, and in consequence thereof, sundry of the 
barrack doors were beat down, and about one third of the garrison im- 
prisoned, which consisted of the said commander, a Lieut. Feltham, a 
conducter of artillery, a gunner, two sergeants, and forty-four rank and 

*Tf the Colonel has expressed a little of his usual severity in this place, he might 
have remarked also, that neither of the authorities he mentioned were much known in 
a British camp. 


file ; about one hundred pieces of cannon, one tliirteen inch mortar, and 
a number of swivels. This surprise was carried into execution in the 
grey of the morning of the tenth day of May, 1775. The sun seemed 
to rise that morning with a superior lustre ; and Ticonderoga and its 
dependencies smiled on its conquerors, who tossed about the flowing 
b^owl, and wished success to Congress, and the liberty and freedom of 
America. Happy it was for me, at that time, that the then future pages 
of the book of fate, which afterwards unfolded a miserable scene of two 
year? an-" eight months imprisonment, were hid from my view. 

But to return to my narration : Col. Warner, with the rear guard, 
crossed the lake, and joined me early in the- morning, whom I s'ent off 
without loss of time, with about one hundred men^ to take possession of 
Crown Point, which was garrisoned with a sergeant and twelve men • 
which lie took possession of the same day, as also upwards of one hun- 
di>^d pieces of cannon. But one thing now remained to be done, lo 
make ourselves complete masters of lake Champlain ; this was to possess 
ourselves of a sloop of war, which was then lying at St. Johns ; to effect 
which, it was agreed in a council of war, to arm and man out a certain 
schooner, which lay at South Bay, and that Capt. (now general) Arnold* 
should command her, and that I should command the batieaux. The 
necessary preparations being made, we set sail from Ticonderoga, in 
quest of the sloop, which was much larger, and carried more guns and 
heavier metal than the schooner. General Arnold, with tlie schooner, 
sailing faster than the batteaux, arrived at St. Johns ; and by surprise 
possessed himself of the sloop, before I could arrive with the batteau.x : 

* This name, which now calls to mind the idea of treason, at every mention of 
it, is '■ damned to everlasting fame." His early history, with his conduct during 
the revolution, is probably iamiliar to every school boy. His subsequent hfe is 
thus described by Dr. Allen, in his American Biographical Dictionary. 

'■ From the conclusion of the war to his death, Gen. Arnold resided chiefly in Eng- 
land. In 17S6 he was at St. Johns, New Brunswick, engaged in trade and naviga- 
tion, and again in 17H0. For some cause he became very unpopular; in 17; 2 or 
1793, was hung in effigy, and the mayor found it necessary to read the riot act, and 
a company of troo^^s was called out to .quell the mob. Repairing to the Vvest 
Indies in 1794, a French fleet anchored at the same island; he became alarmed 
least he should be detained by the American Allies, and passcd'th© fleet concealed 
on a raft of lumber. He died in Gloucester place, London, Ju^e 14, ISOl. He 
married Margaret, the daughter of Edward Shippen ofPhiladelphia, chief justice, 
rind a loyalist. General Greene, it is said, was his rival. She combined fascina- 
ting manners with strength of mind. She died at London. August 21, 1804, aged 
43. His sous were men of property in Canada in 1S29. — His character presents lit- 
tle to be coi."raended. His daring courage may indeed excite admiration ; but it 
was a courage without reflection and without principle. He fouglit bravely for hia 
country and he bled in her cause ; but his country owed him no returns of gratitude, 
for his siv: sequent conduct proved, that he had no honest regard to her interests, 
but was governed by selfish considerations. His progress from self indal:;enee 
to treason was easy and rapid. He was vain and luxurious, and to gratify liis gid- 
dy desires he must resort to meanness, dishonesty, and extortion. These vices 
br.iUght with them disgrace; and the contempt, into which he fell, awakened a s^jur- 
it of revenge, and left^uim to the unrestrained influence of his cupidity ai.d passiuri. 
Thus from the high fame, to which his bravery had elevated him, he descended 
into infamy. Thus too he furnished nev/ evidence of the infatuation of the human 
mind in attaching such value to the reputation of a soldier, which may be obtained, 
while the heart is unsound and every moral sentiment is entirely depraved." 



He also made prisoners of a sergeant and twelve men, who were garri- 
soned at that place. It is worthy of remark that as soon as General Ar- 
nold had secured the prisoners on board, and had made preparations for 
sailing, the wind, which but a few hours before was fresh in the south, 
and well served to carry us to St. Johns, now sl>ifted, and came fresh 
from the north; and in about one liDiir's time, General Arnold sailed 
with the prize and schooner for Ticonderoga. When I met him with 
my parly, within a few miles of St. Johns, he saluted me with a discharge 
of cannon, which I returned vvillj a volley of small arms. This being 
repeated three times, I went on board the sloop with my party, where 
several loyal Congress healths were drunk. 

We were now masters of lake Champlain, and the garrison depending 
thereon. This success I viewed of consequence in the scale of Ameri- 
can politics; for, if a settlement between the then colonies and Great 
Britain, had soon taken place, it would have been easy to have restored 
these acquisitions ; but viewing the tlien future consequences of a cruel 
war, as it has really proved to be, and the conmiand of that lake, garrisons, 
artillery, occ, it must be viewed to be of signal importance to the American 
cause, and it is marvellous to mo that wc ever lost the command of it. 
Nothing but taking a Burgoyno with a whole British army, could, in my 
opinion, atone for it; and notwithstanding such an extraordinary victory, 
we must be obliged to regain the command of that lake again, be the cost 
^vhat it will ; by doing this Canada will easily be brought into union 
and confederacy with the United States of America. Such an event 
would put it out of the power of the western tribes of Indians to carry on 
a war with us, and be a solid and durable bar against any further inhu- 
man barbarities committed on our frontier inhabitants, by cruel and blood- 
thirsty savages ; for it is impossible for them to carry on a war, except 
they are supported by the trade and commerce of some civilized nation ; 
which to lljem would be impracticable, did Canada compose a part of 
the American empire. 

Early in the fall of the year, the little army under the command of 
Generals Schuyler and Montgomery, were ordered to advance into Can- 
ada. I was at Ticonderoga when this order arrived ; and the Generals, 
with most of the field officers, requested me to attend them in the expe- 
dition ; and, tliough at that time I had no commission from Congress, 
yet they engaged me, that I should be considered as an officer, the same as 
though I had a commission ; and liiould, as occasion might require, com- 
mand certain detachments of the army. This I considered as an honor- 
able offer, and did not hesitate to comply with it, and advanced with the 
army to Isle-aux-Noix ;* from whence I was ordered by the General, to 
go in company with Major Brown, and certain interpreters, through the 
woods into Canada, with letters to the Canadians, and to let them know 
that the design of the army was only against the English garrisons, and 
not the country, their liberties or religion ; and having, through much 

* A small island containing about 85 acres, ten miles north oftlie boundaiy lines 
of the States of New York and Vermont. It is strongly fortified, and completely 
commands the Avater communication from lake Champlain. Here the British had 
a amall garrison. 


danger, negotiated this business, [ returned to the Isle-aux-Noix in the 
fore part of September, when Gen. Schuyler returned to Albany; and 
in consequence the command devolved uf)on Gen. Montgomery, whom 
I assisted in laying a line of circumvailaliou round tljo fortress of St. 
Johns." After which I was ordered by the General, to make a second 
tour into Canada, upon nearly the same design as before; and withal to 
observe the disposition, designs and movements of the inhabitants of the 
country. Tliis reconnoiter I undertook reluctantly, chcosiiig rather to 
assist at the seige of St. JoJins, which vv'as then closely invested; but 
my esteem for the general's person, and opinion of him as a politician 
and brave officer, induced me to proceed. 

I passed through all the parishes on the river Sorel,j- to a parish at the 
moutii of the same, which is called by the same name, preaching poli- 
tics ; and went from thence across the Sorel to the St. Lawrence, and 
up the river through the parishes to Longueil, and so far met with good 
success as an itinerant. In this round my guard were Canadians, my in- 
terpreter, and some few attendants excepted On the morning of the 
24th day of September I set out with my guard of about eighty men, 
from Longueil, to go to Laprairie ;t from whence I determined to go to 
General Montgomery's camp; but had not advanced two miles before I 
met with Major Brown, who has since been advanced to the rank of a 
Colonel, who desired me to halt, saying that he had something of impor- 
tance to communicate to me and my confidants ; upon which I halted 
the party, and went into a house, and took a private room with him and 
several of my associates, where Col. Brown proposed that, " provided I 
would return to Loiigueil, and procure some canoes, so as to cross the 
river St. Lawrence a little north of Montreal, he would cross it a little 
to the south of the town, with near two hundred men, as lie had boats 
siifficient ; and that we could make ourselves masters of Montreal." 
This plan was readiy approved by me and those in council ; and incon- 
sequence of which I returned to Longueil, collected a few canoes, and 
added about thirty English-Americans to my party, and crossed the riv- 
er in the night of tlie 24th, agreeably to the proposed plan. 

My wliole parly at this time, consisted of about one hundred and ten 
men, near eighty of whom were Canadians. We were most of the night 
crossilig the river, as we had so few canoes tliat tiiey had to pass and re- 
pass three times, to carry my party across. Soon after day-break, I set 
a guard between me and the town, with special orders to let no person 
whatever pass or repass them, another guard on the other end of the 
road, with like directions ; in the meantime, I reconnoitered the best 

*St.jGiins is a thriving village, in the County of Chambl}-, situated at tlie north 
end of lake Champlain, on the west bank of the Sorel river, twenty-eight milea 
er,uthvvard of Montreal. It is the port of entry and clearance, between the United 
States and Canada. It is now connected with the St. Lawrence river by a rail-road. 

t Sorel or Richelieu PJver, the outlet of lake Champlain, which after a course of 
about 6d miles north, empties into the St. Lawrence, in north lat. 46 deg. 10 min., 
and long. 72 deg. 25 min. west. Sorel Ibrt^ built by the French, is at the western 
I oint of the mouth of this riv-er. 

X L;u3rairie, a populous little village, on the river S^t. Lawrence, in Canada, eight- 
een miles north of St. Johns, and nine south-west of Montreal. 


ground to make a defence, expecting Col.. Brown's party was landed on 
the other side of the town, he having, the day before, agreed to give 
three loud huzzas with his men early in the rnornins-, which signal 1 was 
to return, that we might each know that both parties were landed ; but 
the sun, by this time, being nearly two hours high, and the sign failing, 
I began to conclude myself to be in preniunire, and would have cross- 
ed the river back again, but I knew the enemy would have discovered 
such an attempt ; and as there could not more than one-third part of my 
troops cross at one time, the other two-thirds would of course fall into 
their hands. This I could not reconcile to my own feelings as a man, 
much less as an officer: T therefore concluded to maintain the ground it 
possible, and all to fare alike. In consequence of this resolution, I de- 
spatched two messengers, one to Laprairie, to Col. Brown, and the oth- 
er to I'Assomption, a Frencli settlement, to Mr. Walker, who was in our 
"tnterest, requesting their speedy assistance, giving them, at the same 
time to understand my critical situation. In the mean time, sundry per- 
sons came to my guards, pretending to be friends, but were by them ta- 
ken prisoners and brought to me. These I ordered to confinement, un- 
til their friendship couid be further confirmed ; for I was jealous they 
were spies, as they proved to be afterwards. One of the principal of 
them making his escape, exposed ilie weakness of my party, which was 
the final cause of my misfortune ; for I have been since informed that 
Mr. Walker, agreeably to my desire, exerted himself, and had raised a 
considerable number of men for my assistance, which brought him into 
difficulty afterwards, but upon hearing of my misfortune, he disbanded 
them again. 

The town of Montreal was in a great tumult. General Carleton and 
the royal party, made every preparation to go on board their vessels of 
force, as I was afterwards informed, but t!ie spy escaped from my guard 
to the town, occasioned an alteration in their policy, and emboldened 
Gen, Carleton to send the force which he had there collected, out against 
me. I had previously chosen my ground, but when I saw the number of 
the enemy as ihcy salHed out of tiie town, I percived that it would be a 
day of trouble if not of rebuke ; but I had no chance to flee, as Montreal 
vyas situated on an island, and the St. Lawrence cut o^ my communica- 
tion to Gen. Mongomery's camp. I encouraged my soldiery to bravely 
defend themselves, that we should soon have help, and that we siiould 
be able to keep the ground, if no more. This, and much more I affirm- 
ed with the greatest seeming assurance, and which in reality I thought 
to be in some degree probable. 

The enemy consisted of not more than forty regular troops, together 
with a mixed multitude, chiefly Canadians, with a number of EnglisTi who 
lived in town, and some Indians ; in all to the number of near five hun- 

The reader will notice that most of my parly were Canadians ; indeed 
it was a motley parcel which composed both parlies. However,'tl)e ene- 
my began the attack from wood-[)ilcs, ditches, buildings, and such like 
places, at a considerable distance, and I returned the fire from a situa- 
tion more than equally advantageous. The attack began between two 


and thjEC o'clock in the afternoon, just before which I ordered a volun- 
teer bwthe name of Richard Young, with a detaclmient of nine men as 
a flankguard, which, under the cover of the bank of the river, could not 
only ajnoy the enemy, but at iho same time, serve as a flank guard to 
the lefiof the main body. 

The (ire continued for soinc time on both sides ; and I was confident 
that such a remote method of attack could not carry the ground, provi- 
ded it should be continued till night ; but near half the body of the en- 
emy began to flank round to my right; upon which I ordered a volun- 
teer, by the name of John Dugan, who had lived many years in Canada, 
and up.dfrstood the French language, to detach about fifty of the Cana- 
dians, and post himself at an advantag<jous ditch, which was on my right, 
to prevent my being surrrounded : He advanced with the detachment, 
but instead of occupying the post, made his escape, as did likewise Mr. 
Young upon the icfi, witi^ tiieir detachments. I soon perceived that the 
enemy v,'as in the possession of the ground, wj)ich Dugan should have 
occupied. At this time Ihad but about forty. five men with me ; some of 
whom were wounded ; the enemy kept closing round me, nor was it in my 
power to prevent it; by which means, my situation, which was advanta- 
geous in the first part of the attack, ceased to be so in the last ; and be- 
ing almost entirely surrounded with such vast unequal numbers, I order- 
ed a retreat, but found that tiiose of the enemy, who were of the coun- 
try, and their Indians, could run as fast as my men, though the regulars 
could not. Thus I retreated near a mile, and some of the enemy, with 
the savages, kept flanking me, and others crowded hard in the rear. In 
fine, I expected, in a very short time to try the world of spirits ; for I 
was apprehensive that no quarter would be given me, and therefore had • 
determined to sell my life as dear as I could. One of the enemy's offi- 
cers, boldly pressing in the rear, discharged his fusee at me ; the ball 
whistled near me, as did many others that day. I returned the salute, 
and missed him, as running had put us both out of breath : for I conclude 
we were not frightened : I then saluted him with my tongue in a harsh 
manner, and told him that, inasmuch as his numbers were far superior 
to mine, I would surrender provided I could be treated with honor, and 
be assured of good quarters for myself and the men who were with me ; 
and lio answered I should ; another officer, coming up directly after, con- 
firmed the treaty : upon which I agreed to surrender with my party, 
which then consisted of tidrty-one effective men, and seven wounded. 
I ordered them to ground their arms, which they did. 

The officer I capitulated with, then directed me and my party to ad- 
vance towards him, which was done ; I handed him my sword, and in 
halt a minute after, a savage, part of whose head was shaved, being al- 
most naked and painted, with feathers intermixed with the hair of the 
other side of his head, came running to me with an incredible swiftness ; 
he seemed to advance with more than mortal speed ; as he approached 
near me, his hellish visage was beyond all description ; snake's eyes ap- 
pear innocent in comparison of his ; his features extorted ;* malice, death, 

* Probably meant to be dhtoiied ; thongh, from the description it would appear 
jJhat his visage had been extorted from some " Gorgon or chim-era dire.'' 

14 ETHAN AT.LEn's 

murder, and the wrath of devils and damned sphits are the emilems of 
his countenance ; and in less than twelve feet of me, presenting lis fire- 
lock ; at the instant of his present, I twitched tlie officer, to whon I gave 
my sword, between me and the savage; but he flew round wih great 
fury, trying to single me out to shoot mo without killing the officer ; but 
by this time I was nearly as nimble as he, keeping the officer ir such a 
position that his danger was my defence; but in less than \»alf a minute, 
I was attacked by just such another imp of hell : Then I nKide the offi- 
cer fly around with incredible velocity, for a few seconds of 'ime, when 
I perceived a C\:riadian, who had lost one eye, as appeared afterwards, 
taking my part against the savages ; and in an instant an Irisht^an came 
to my assistance, and drove away the fiends, swearing by Jasus hq would 
kill them. This tragic scene composed my mind. The escapin^^ i^voni 
so awful a death, made even imprisonnient happy ; the more so as my 
conquerors on the field treated me with great civility and politeness. 

The regular officers said that they were very happy to see Col. Allen : 
I answered them, that I should rather chose to have seen them at Gen- 
eral Montgom.ery's camp. The gentlemen replied, that they gave full 
credit to what I said, and as I walked to the town, which was, as I should 
guess, more than two miles, a British officer walking at my right hand, 
and one of the French noblesse at my left ; the latter of which, in the 
action, had his eyebrow carried away by a glancing shot, but was never- 
theless very merry and facetious, and no abuse was offered me till I came 
to the barrack yard at Montreal, where I met general Prescott, who ask- 
ed me my name, which 1 told him : He then asked me, whether I was 
that Col. Allen, who took Ticonderoga. I told him I was the very man : 
Then he shook his cane over my head, calling many hard names, among 
which he frequently used the word rebel, and put himself in a great 
rage. I told him lie would do well not to cane me, for I was not ac- 
customed to it, and shook my fist at him, telling him that was the beetle 
of mortality for him, if he offered to strike ; upon which Capt. M'Cloud 
of the British, pulled him by the skirt, and whispered to him, as he af- 
terwards told me, to this import; tliat it was inconsistent with his honor 
to strike a prisoner. He then ordered a sergeant's command with fixed 
bayonets to come forward, and kill thirteen Canadians, which were in- 
cluded in the treaty aforesaid. 

It cut me to the heart to see the Canadians in so hard a case, in con- 
sequence of their having been true to me ; they were wringing their hands, 
saying their prayers, as I concluded, and expected immediate death. 
I therefore stepped between the executioners and the Canadians, open- 
ed my clothes, and told Gen. Prescott to thrust his bayonets into my 
breast, for I was the sole cause of the Canadians taking up arms. 

The guard, in the mean time, rolling their eye-balls from the General 
tome, as though impatiently waiting his dread commands to siieath their 
bayonets in my heart ; 1 could, however, plainly discern, that he was in 
a suspense and quandary about the matter : This gave me additional 
hopes of succeeding ; for my design was not to die, but to save the Ca- 
nadians by a finesse. The general stood a minute, when he made me 
the following reply ; '' I will not execute you now ; but you shall grace 
a halter at Tyburn, God damn you." 


I rememhcr I rlisdaiiicd his mentioning such a place; I was, nowitl)- 
standing, a little [)lcased with the expression, as it significantly conveyed 
to me the idea of postponing the present j'.ppearance of death ; besides 
his sentence was by no m.eai.s final, as to " gracing a halter, " although 
I had anxiety about it, alicr I landed in England, as the reader will find 
in t!ie course of this history. Gen. Prescott then ordered one of his oi- 
ficers to take me on board the Gaspee schooner of war, and confine me, 
honds and feet, in irons, which was done the same afternoon I was taken. 

The action continued an hour and three quarters, by the watch, and 
I know not to this day how many of my men were killed, though I am 
certain there were but few. If I remember right, 7 were wounded ; one 
of them, Wm. Stewart, by name, was wounded by a savage with a tom- 
ahawk, after he was taken prisoner and disarmed, but was rescued by 
some of the generous enemy ; and so far recovered of his wounds, 
he afterwards went with the other prisoners to England. 

Of the enemy, were killed a major Garden, who had been wounded 
in eleven dilTerent battles, and an eminent merchant, Patterson, of Mon- 
treal, and some others, but I never knew their whole loss, as their ac- 
counts were diflerent. I am apprehensive that it is rare, that so much 
ammunition was expended, and so little execution done by it; though 
such of my party as stood their ground, behaved with great fortitude, 
much exceeding that of the enemy, but were not the best of marksmen, 
and, I am apprehensive, were all killed or taken ; the wounded were all 
put into the hospital at Montreal, and those that were not, were put on 
board of different vessels in the river, and shackled together by pairs, 
viz. two men fastened together by one hand-cuff, being closely fixed to 
one wrist of each of them, and treated with the greatest severity, nay as 

I now come to the description of the irons, -which were put on me : 
The hand-cuff was of the common size and form, but my leg irons, I 
should imagine would weigh tiiirty pounds; the bar was eight feet long, 
and very substantial; the shackles, which encompassed my ancles, were 
very tiglit. I was told by the officer, vvlio put them on, that it was the 
king's plate, and I heard other of their officers say, that it would weigh 
forty weight. The irons were so close upon my ancles, that I could not 
lay down in any other manner than on my back. I was put into the low- 
est and most wretched part of the vessel, where I got the favor of a chest 
to sit on ; the sami^answered for my bed at night ; and having procured 
some little blocks of the guard, who day and night, with fixed bayonets, 
watched over m.c, to lie under each end of the large bar of my leg irons, 
to preserve my ancles from galling, while I sat on the chest, or lay back 
on the same, though most of the time, night and day, I sat on it ; but at 
length, having a desire to lie down on^my side, which the closeness of 
my irons forbid, I desired the captain to loosen them for that purpose; 
but was denied tlie favor. The Captain's name was Royal, who did not 
seem to be an ill-natured man ; but oftentimes said, that his express or- 
ders were to treat me with such severity, which was disagreeable to his 
own feelings ; nor did he ever insult me, though many others, who como 
on board did. One of the officers, by the name of Bradley, was very 

16 ETtiAN Allen's 


generous to mc ; he would often send me victuals froin his own table : 
nor did a day fail, but he sent mc a good drink of grog. 

The reader is now invited back to the time I was put in irons. I re- 
quested the privilege to write to General Prescott, which was granted. 
I reminded him of the kind and generous manner of my treatment of the 
prisoners I took at Ticonderoga ; the injustice and ungentleman-like 
usage I had met with from him, and demanded better usage, but receiv- 
ed no answer from him. I soon after wrote to Gen. Carleton, which met 
the same success. In the mean while, many of those who were permit- 
ted to see me, were very insulting. 

I was confined in the manner 1 have related, on board the Gaspee 
schooner, about six weeks ; during which time I was obliged to throw 
out plenty of extravagant language, which answered certain purposes, 
at that time, better than to grace a history. 

To give an instance ; upon being insulted, in a fit of anger, I twisted 
off a nail with my teeth, which I took to be a ten-penny nail ; it went 
through tl'.e mortise of the bar of my hand-cuff, and at the same time I 
swaggered over those who abused me ; particularly a Doctor Dace, who 
told me that I was outlawed by New York, and dserved death for several 
years past; was at last fully ripened for the halter, and in a fair way to 
obtain it. When I challenged him, he excused hir.'.self, in consequence, 
as he said, of my being a criminal ; but I flung such a flood of language 
at him that it shocked iiim and the spectators,^for my anger was very great. 
I heard one say, damn him, can he cat iron ? After that, a small padlock 
was flxeu to the hand-cuff", instead of the nail ; and as they were mean- 
spirited in their treatment to mc so it appeared to me, that they were 
equally timorous and cowardly. 

I was after sent, with the prisoners taken with me, to an armed vessel 
in the river, which lay off against Quebec, under the command of Capt. 
M'Cloud, of the Briiish, who treated mc in a very generous and obliging ! 
manner, and according to my rank ; in about twenty-four hours I bid » 
him farewell with regret ; but my "ood fortune still continued. The | 
name of the Captain of the vessel I was put on board, was Liltlejohn ; j 
who, with his officers, beh.aved in a polite, generous, and friendly man- ! 
ner. I lived with them in the cabin, and fared on the best, my irons 
being taken off, contrary to the order he, received from the. command- 
ing officer ; but Capt Littlcjohn swore, that a brave man should not be 
used as a rascal, on board his ship. * 3 

Thus I found myself in possession of happiness once more, and the 
evils I had lately suflered, gave me an uncommon relish for it. 

Capt. Littlejohn used to go to Quebec almost every day, in order to 
pay Ids respects to certain gentlemen and ladies : being there on a certain 
day, he happened to meet with some disagreeable treatment, as he imagin- 
ed, from a Lieut, of a man-of-war, and one word brought on another, 
until the Lieut, challenged him to a duel on the plains of Abraham. Capt. 
Littlejohn was a gentleman, who entertained a high sense of honor, and 
could do no less than accept the challenge. 

At nine o'clock the next morning they were to fight. The Captain 
returned in the evening, and acquainted his Lieutenant and me with the 


fifiair. His Lieutenant was a high blooded Scotchman, as wpjl as him- 
self, who replied to his Captain he should not want for a second. 
With this I interrupted him and gave the Cr»ptain to understand, that 
since an opportunity presented, I would be glad to testify my grati* 
tude to him, by acting the part of a faithful second; on which hn gave 
me his hand, and said that he wanted no better man. Says he, I am 
a King's officer, and you a prisoner under my care ; ycu must, therefore, 
go with me, to the place appointed in (li^guise, and added further, ' You 
must engage me, upon the honor of a gentleman, that whether I die er 
live, or whatever hapi)ens, provided you live, that you will return to my 
Lieutenant on board this ship.' All this I solemnly engaged him. Th© 
combatants were to discliarge each a pocket pistol, and then to fall on 
with tiicir iron hilted muckle whangers ; and one of that sort was allot- 
ted for me ; but some British ofi^cers, who interposed early in the morn- 
ing, settled the controversy without fighting. 

Now having enjoyed eiglit or nine days' happiness, from the polite 
and generous treatment of Captain Littlejohn and his officers, I was 
obliged to bid them farewell, parting with them in as friendly a manner 
as vve had lived together, which, to the best of my memory, was the 
eleventh of November: when a detachment of General Arnold's little 
army appeared on point Levi,* opposite Quebec, who had performed 
an extraordinary march through a wilderness country, witli design to 
have surprised the capital of Canada; I was then taken on board a ves- 
sel called the Adamant, together with the prisoners taken with me, and 
put under the power of an English Merchant from London, whose name 
was Brook Watson ; a man of malicious and cruel disposition, and who 
was probably excited, in the exercise of his malevolence, by a junto of 
tories, who sailed with him to England ; among whom were Col. Guy 
Jo!in?on, Col. Closs, and their attendants and associates, to the number 
of about thirty. 

All tiie ship's crew, Col. Closs, in his personal behavior excepted, be- 
haved towards the prisoners with that spirit of bitterness, which is the 
peculiar characteristic of tories, when they have the hiends of America 
in their power, measuring their loyalty to the English King by the bar- 
barity, fraud and deceit which they exercise towards the whigs. 

A small place in the vessel, enclosed with white oak plank, was as- 
signed for the prisoners, and for me among the rest. I should imagine 
that it was not more than twenty feet one way, and twenty-two the oth- 
ep. Into this place vve were all, to the number of thirty-four, thrust and 
hand-cuffed, two prisoners more being added to our number, and were 
provided with two excrement tubs ; in thiscircumferarice we were obliged 
to eat and perform the offices of evacuation, during the voyage to Eng- 
land ; and were insulted by every black-guard sailor and tory on board, 
in the crudest manner; but what is the most surprising is, that not one 
of us died in the passage. When I was first ordered to go into the filthy 
inclosure, through a small sort of door, I positively refused, and endeav- 
ored to reason tlie before named Brook Watson out of a conduct so de- 

*Levi, a point of land la the river St. Lawrence, oppoeite to the city of Quebec. 


rogatory to every sentiment of honor and humanity, but all to no pur^ 
pose, my men being forced in the den ahcady ; and the rascal who had 
the charge of the prisoners commanded me to go immediately in among 
the rest. lie further added that the place was good enough for a rebel ; 
that it was impertinent for a capital oflender to talk of honor or humani- 
ty ; that any thing short of a halter was to good for me ; and that that 
would be mv portion soon after I landed in England ; for which purpose 
only I was sent thither. About the same time a lieutenant among the 
lories, insulted me in a grievous manner, saying that I ought to have 
been executed for my rebellion against New York, and spit in my face ; 
upon which, though I was hand-cuffed, I sprang at him with both hands, 
and knocked him partly down, but ho scrambled along into the cabin, 
and I alter him ; there he got under the protection of some men with 
fixed bayonets, who were ordered to make ready to drive me into the 
place aforementioned. I challenged him to fight, notwithstanding the 
impediments that were on my hands, and had the exalted pleasure to see 
the rascal tremble for fear; his name I have forgot, but Watson ordered 
his guard to gel mc into the place with the other prisoners, dead or alive ; 
and 1 had almost as lieve die as do it, standing it out until they environ- 
ed me round with bayonets; and brutish, prejudiced, abandoned wretch- 
es they were, from whom I could expect nothing but death or wounds ; 
however I told them, that they were good honest fellows ; that I could 
iipt blame them ; that I was only in dispute with a calico merchant, who 
knew not how to behave towards a gentleman of the m.ililary establish- 
ment. This was spoken to appease them for my osvn preserva- 
tion, as well as to treat Watson with contempt ; but still I found they 
were determined to force me into the wretched circumstances, which 
their prejudiced and depraved minds had prepared for me ; therefore, 
rather than die, I submitted to their indignities, being drove with bayonets 
into the filthy dungeon with the other prisoners, where we were denied 
fresh water, except a small allowance, which was very inadequate to our 
wants ; and in consequence of the stench of the place, each of us was 
soon followed with a diarrhoea and fever, which occasioned an intolera- 
ble thirst. When we asked for water, we were, most commonly, in- 
stead of obtaining it, insulted and derided ; and to add to all the horrors 
of the place, it was so dark that we could not see each other, and were 
overspread with body lice. We had, notwithstanding these severities, 
full allowance of salt provisions, and a gill of rum per day; the latter of 
which was of the utmost service to us, and, probably, was the means of 
saving several of our lives. About forty days we existed in this man- 
ner, when the land's end of England was discovered from the mast head ; 
soon after which, the prisoners were taken from their gloomy abode, 
being permitted to see the light of the sun, and breathe fresh air, which 
to us was very refreshing. The day following we landed at Falmouth. 

A few days before I was taken prisoner, I shifted my clothes, by which 
I happened to be taken in a Canadian dress, viz , a short fawn-skin jack- 
et, donblc-breasfod, an undervesl and breeches of sagathy, worsted 
stockings, "a decent pair of shocb, two plain shirts, and a red worsted 
cap ; this Vv'as all the clothing I had, in which I made my appearance ija 

NAP.r.ATiVii, 19 

Tpv hen the prisoners were lanued, multitudes of the citizens of Fal- 
mouth, excited by curiosity, crowded to see us, which was cquallv grati- 
fying to us. I saw numbers or, the tops of houses, and the rising adja- 
cent grounds were covered ;vii!i them, of both sexes. The throng was 
so great, that the king's officers were obliged to draw their swords, and 
force a passage to Pendennis castle, which wa? near a mile from the town, 
where we were closely confined, in consequence of orders from General 
Carleton, who llien commanded in Canada. 

The rascally Brook Watson then set out for London in great haste, 
expecting the reward of ins zeal; but the ministry received him, as I 
have been since informed, rather coolly; for the the minority in parlia- 
ment took advantage, arguing that the opposition of America to Great 
Britain, was not a rebellion : If it is, say they, why do you not execute 
Col. Allen according to law? But the majority argued that I ought to 
be executed, and that the opposition was really a rebellion, but that pol- 
icy obliged them not to do it, inasmuch as the Congress had then most 
prisoners in their power; so that my being sent to England, for the pur- 
pose of being executed, and necessity restraining them, was rather a foil 
on their laws and autliority, and they consequently disapproved of my 
being sent tliiti-er. But I imd never heard the hiiit .if tiiose de- 
bates, in parliament, or of the woiking of their policy, until sometime 
after I left England. 

Consequently tiie reader will readily conceive I was anxious about my 
preservation, knowing that I was in the power of a haughty and cruel 
nation, considered as such. Therefore, the firat proposition which I de- 
termined in my own mind' was, that humanity and moral suasion would not 
be consulted in the determining of my fate ; and those that daily came in 
great numbers out of curiosity, to see me, both gentle and simple, united 
in this, that I would be hanged. A gentleman fcom America, by the name 
of Temple, and who was friendly to me, just whispered me in the ear, and 
told me that bets were laid in London, that I would be executed ; he 
likewise privately gave me a guinea, but durst say but little to me. 

However, agreeably to my first negative proposition, that moral virtue 
would not influence my destiny, I had reccursG to stratagem, vvhich I 
was in hopes would move in the circle of their policy. I requested of 
the commander of the castle the privilege of writing to Congress, who, 
after consulting with an officer that lived in town, of a superior rank, 
permitted me to write. I wrote, in the fore part of the letter, a short 
narrative of my ill-treatment; but withal let them know that, though I 
was treated as a criminal in England, and continued in irons, together 
with those taken with me, yet it was in conseqence pf the orders which 
the commander of tiie castle received from General Carleton ; and there- 
fore desired Congress to desist from matters of retaliation, until they 
should know the result of the government in England, respecting their 
treatment towards me, and the prisoners with me, and govern themselves 
accordingly, with a particular request, that if retaliation should be found 
necessary, it might be exercised not according to the smallness of my 
character in Anicrica, but in proportion to the importance of the cause 
for which I sufiered. This is, according to my present recollection, the 


substance of the letter, inscribed, — " To the illnstriGUS ConHnental 
Congress." This letter was written with n view that it should be sent 
to the ministry at London, ratlier than to Congress, with a design to in- 
timidate the haughty English government, and screen my neck from the 

The next day the officer, from whom I obtained license to write, came 
to see me, and frowned on me on aQCOunt of the impudence of the letter, 
as he phrased it, and further added, 'Do you think tJiat we are fools in 
England, and xvould send your letter to Congress, with instructions to 
retaliate on our own people? I have sent your letter to Lord North.' 
This gave me inward satisfaction, though I carefully concealed it with a 
pretended resentment, for I found I had come Yankee over him, and 
that the letter had gone to the identical person I designed it for. Nor 
do I know, to this day, but thai it had the desired effect, though I have 
not heard any thing of the letter since. 

My personal treatment by Lieutenant Hamilton, who commanded the 
castle, was very generous. He sent me every day a fine breakfast and 
dinner from his own table, and a bottle of good wine. Another aged 
gentleman, whose name I cannot recollect, sent me a good supper. But 
there was no distinction in public support between me and the privates ; 
we all lodged on a sort of Dutch bunks, in one common apartment, and 
were allowed straw. Tiie privates were well supplied wiili fresh provis- 
ions, and witij me took effectual measures to rid ourselves of lice. 

I could not but feel, inwardly extremely anxious for my fate. This, I 
however, concealed from the prisoners, as well as from the enemy, who 
were perpetually shaking the halter at me. I nevertheless treated them 
with scorn and contempt; and having sent my letter to the ministry, 
could conceive of nothing more in my power but to keep up my spirits, 
6ehave in a daring, soldier-like manner, thai I might exhibit a good sam- 
ple of American foriitude.* Such a conduct, I judged would have a 
more probable tendency to my preservation than concession and timidi- 
ty. This therefore, was my deportment ; and I had lastly determined, 
in my mind, that if a cruel death must inevitably be my portion, I would 
face it undatinted ; and, though I greatly rejoice that I returned to my 
country and friends, and to see the power and pride of Great Britain 
humbled ; yet I am confident I could then have died uilliout the least 
appearance of dismay. 

I now clearly recollect that my mind was so resolved, that I would 
not have trembled or shewn the least fear, as I. was sensible it could not 
alter my fate, nor do more than reproach my memory, make my last act 
despicable to my enemies, and eclipse the other actions of my life. For 
I reasoned thus, that nothing was more common than for men to die 
with their friends around them, weeping and lamenting over them, but 
not able to help them, which was in reality not different in the conse- 

*The British must doubtless have had a high idea of the personal prowess of Mr. 
Allen ; and liowever superior their regular discipline might have appeared in their 
own eyes, yet they could not but respect his courage. To this intrej)id spirit, and 
the esteem it must have excited, the Colonel probably owes his complimentary 
meals and hie daily bottle of wine. 


quence of it froin suc'i a death as I was apprehensive of; and, as deatli 
was the natural consequence of animal life to which the laws of nature 
subject mankind, to he timorous and uneasy as to the event and manner 
of it, was inconsistent uith tiic character of a philosopher and soldier. 
Tiic cause I was engaged in, I ever viewed worthy hazarding my life 
for, nor was I, in the most criticnl moments of trouble, sorry that I en- 
gaged in it ; and, as to the world of spirits, though I knew nothing of 
the mode or manner of it, I expected nevertheless, when I should arrive 
at sue!) a vvorld, that I should be as well treated as other gentlemen of 
my merit. 

Among the great numbers of people, who came to the castle to see 
the prisoners, some gentlemen told me that tfiey had come fifty miles on 
purpose to see me, and desired to ask mo a number of questions, and to 
make free with n^.e in conversation. I gave for answer that I chose free- 
dom in every sense of the vv'ord. Then one of them asked me what 
my. occupation \i\ life had been? I answered him, that in my younger 
days I had studied divinity, but I was a corsjuror by profession. He re- 
plied, that I conjured v^-rong at the time I was taken ; and I uas obliged 
to own, that I mistook a figure at that time, but that I had conjured them 
out of Ticoaderoga. This was a place of great notoriety in England, 
so that t'le joke seemed to go in my favor. 

It was a common thing for me to be taken out of close confinement, 
into a spacious green in the c:ist!e, or ratlier parade, where numbers of 
gentlemen and ladies were ready to see and hear me. I often entertain- 
ed such, audiences with harangues on the impracticability of Great Brit- 
ain's conquering the then colonies of Atnerica. At one of tiiese times 
I asked a gentleman for a bowl of punch, and he ordered his servant to 
bring it, which he did, and ofiered it to me, but I refused to take it from 
the hand of his servant ; he then gave it to me with his ov/n hand, re- 
fusing to drink with me in consequence of my being a state criminal : 
Hovv'ever, I took the punch and drank it all down at one draught, and 
handed the gentleman tiie bowl : this made the spectators as well as my- 
self merry. 

I expatiated on American freedom. Tiiis gained the resentment of a 
young, beardless gentleman of tiie company, who gave himself very great 
airs, and replied that he ' knew the Americans very well, and was cer- 
tain that they could not bear the smell of powder.' I replied, that I ac- 
cepted it as a challenge, and was ready to convince him on the spot, that 
an Am.erican could bear the smell of powder ; at which he answered he should not put himself on a par with nio. I then demanded of 
him to treat the character of the Americans with duv, respect. He an- 
swered that I was an Irishman ; but I assured him that I was a full 
blooded Yankee, and in fine baiitered him so much, that he left me in 
possession of the ground, and the laugh went against him'. Two clergy- 
men came to see me, and, inasmuch as they behaved with civility, I re- 
turned them the same. We discoursed on several parts of moral philos- 
opliy and Christianity ; and tiiey seemed to be surprised that 1 should 
be acquainted with such topics, or that 1 should understand a syllogism, 
or regular mode of argumentation. I am apprehensive my Canadian 

22 ethat; at.len s 

dress contrlbutcrl not p. little to the surprise, and cxcilcment of curiosi- 
ty : to sec a gentleman in England regularly dressed and well behaved 
would be no sight at all ; but such a rebel as they were pleased to call 
me, it is probable, was never before seen in England. 

The prisoners were landed at Falmouth a few days before Christmas, 
and ordered on board of the Solebay frigate, Capl. Symonds, on the 
cightli day of January, 1776, wlicn our hniid irons were taken of!". This 
remove was in consequence, as'l have been since informe'd, of a writ of 
habeas corpus, which had been procured by some gentlemen in England, 
in order to obtain me my liberty. 

The Solebay, with sundry other men-of-war, and about forty trans- 
ports, rendezvoused at the cove of Cork in Ireland, to take in provisions 
and uatcr. 

When we were first brought on board, captain Symonds ordered all 
the prisoners, and most of the hands on board to go on the deck, and 
caused to be read in their hearing, a certain code of laws or rules, for 
the regulation and ordering of their behavior; and then in a sovereign 
manner, ordered the prisoners me in particular, off the deck, and never 
to come on it again ; for, said he, this is a place for gentlemen to walk. 
So I went of}', an officer following me, who told me that ho would show 
me the place allotted for me, and took me down to the cable tier, saying 
to me this is your place. 

Prior to this I had taken cold, by which I was in an ill state of health, 
and did not say much to the officer ; but stayed there that night, consult- 
ed my policy, and I found I was in an evil case ; that a captain of a man- 
of-war was more arbitrary than a king, as he could view liis territory 
with a look of his eye, and a movement of his finger commanded obedi- 
ence. I felt myself more desponding than I had done at any time be- 
fore ; for I concluded it to be a government scheme, to do that clandes- 
tinely which policy forbid to be done under sanction of any public jus- 
tice and law. 

However, two days after, I shaved and cleansed myself as well as I 
could, and went on deck. The captain spoke to me in a great rage, 
and said : ' did I not order you not to come on deck ?' I answered 
him, that at the same time he said, ' that it was the place for gentlemen 
to walk ; that I was Colonel Allen, but had not been properly introduced 
to him.' He replied, G — d damn you, sir, be careful not to walk the 
same side of the deck that I do. This gave me encouragement, and 
ever after that I walked in the manner he had directed, except when he, 
at certain times afteru-ards, had ordered me off in a passion, and I then 
v^ould directly afterwards go on again, telling him to command his slaves; 
that I was a gentleman and had a right to walk the deck ; yet when lie 
expressly ordered me off, I obeyed, not out of obedience to him, but to 
set an example to the ship's crew, who ought to obey him. 

To walk to the windward side of the deck is, according to custom, 
the prerogative of the captain of the man-of-war, though he, sometimes, 
nay commonly, walks with his lieutenants, when no strangers are by. 
When a captain from some other man-of-war, comes on board, the cap- 
tains walk to the windward side, and tr.e other gentleman to the leeward. 


It was but a (ew nights I lodged in the cable tier, before I gained an 
acquaintance with the master of arms, his name was Gillegan, an Irish- 
man, who was a generous, and well disposed man, and in a friendly man- 
ner made me an offer, of living with him in a little birth, which was al- 
lotted him between decks, and enclosed with canvass ; his preferment on 
board was about equal to that of a sergeant in a regiment. I was com- 
paratively happy in the acceptance of his cleniency, and lived vvitj^i him 
in friendship till the frigate anchored in the harbor of Cape Fear, North 
Carolina, in America. 

Nothing of material consequence happened till the fleet rendezvoused 
at the cove of Cork, except a violent storm which brought old hardy 
sailors to their prayers. It was soon rumored in Cork that I was on 
board the Solebay, with a number of prisoners from America ; upon 
which Messrs. Clark & Hays, merchants in company, and a number of 
other benevolently disposed gentlemen, contributed largely to the relief 
and support of the prisoners, who were thirty-four in number, and in 
very needy circumsiances. A suit of clothes from head to foot, includ- 
ing an overcoat or surtout, and two shirts were bestowed upon each of 
them. My suit I received in superfine broadcloths, sufficient for two 
jackets and two pair of breeches, overplus of a suit throughout, eight 
fine Holland shirts and stocks ready made, with a number of pairs of 
silk and worsted hose, two pair of shoes, two beaver hats, one of which 
was sent me richly laced with gold, by James Bonwell. The Irish gen- 
tlemen furthermore made a large gratuity of wines of the best sort, spir- 
its, gin, loaf and brown sugar, tea and chocolate, with a large round of 
pickled beef, and a number of fat turkies, with many other articles, for 
my sea stores, too tedious to mention here. To the privates they be- 
stowed on each man two pounds of tea, and six pounds of brown sugar. 
These articles were received on board at a time when the captain and 
first lieutenant were gone on shore, by the permission of the second 
lieutenant, a handsome young gentleman, who was then under twenty 
years of age ; his name was Douglass, son of the admiral Douglass, as I 
was informed. 

As this munificence was so unexpected and plentiful, I may add need- 
ful, it impressed on my mind the highest sense of gratitude towards my 
benefactors; for I was not only supplied with the necessaries and con- 
veniences of life, but with the grandeurs and superfluities of it. Mr Hays, 
I one of the donators before-mentioned, came on board, and behaved in 
the most obliging manner, telling me he hoped my troubles were past ; 
for that the gentlemen of Cork determined to make my sea stores equal 
to those of the captain of the Solebay ; he made an offer of live slock 
; and wherewith to support them ; but I knew this would be denied. And 
to crown all, did send me by another person, fifty guineas, but I could 
not reconcile receiving the whole to my own feelings, as it might have 
the appearance of avarice ; and therefore received but seven guineas 
only, and aiu confident, not only from the exercise of the present well 
timed generosity, but from a large acquaintance with gentleman of this 
nation, that as a people they excel in liberality and bravery. 

Two days after the receipt of the aforesaid donations, captain Sym- 
onds came on board, full of envy towards the prisoners; and swore by 


all that is good, tliat tlie damned American rebels should not be feasied 
at this rate, by the damned rebels of Ireland ; he therefore look away 
all my liquors before-mentioned, except some of the wine which was se- 
creted, and a two gallon jug of old spirits wliich was reserved for me per 
favor of lieutenant Douglass. The taking of my liquors was abomina- 
ble in his sight ; he tlierefore spoke in my behalf, lill the captain was an- 
gry with him ; and in consequence, proceeded and look away all tne tea 
and sugar, which Jsad been given to the prisoners, and confiscated it to 
the use of the ship's crew. Our clothing was not taken away, but the 
privates were forced to do duty on board. Soon after this there came a 
boat to the side of the ship, and captain Symonds asked a gentleman in 
it, in my hearing, what his business was? v.'ho answered that he was 
sent to deliver some sea stores to Col. Allen, which if I remember right, 
he said were sent from Dublin ; but the captain damned iiim heartily, 
ordering him away from the ship, and would not suffer him to deliver the 
stores. I was furthermore informed that the gentlemen in Cork, reques* 
ted of Captain Symonds, that I might be allov.'ed to come into the city, 
and that they would be responsible I should return to the frigate at a 
given time, which was denied them. 

We sailed from England the 8th day of January, and from the cove of 
Cork the 12th day of Feb'y. Just before we sailed, the prisoners with 
me were divided, and put on board three different ships of war. This 
gave me some uneasiness, for they were to a man zealous in the cause 
of liberty, and behaved with a becoming fortitude in the various scenes 
of their captivity ; but those, who were distributed on board other ships 
of war were much better used than those who tarried with me, as appear- 
ed afterwards. When the fleet, consisting of about forty-five sail, in- 
cluding five men of war, sailed, from the cove with a fresh breeze, the 
apparance was beautiful, abstracted from the unjust and bloody designs 
they had in view. We had not sailed many days, before a mighty storm 
arose, which lasted near twenty-four hours without intermission. The 
wind blew with relentless fury, and no man could remain on dock, ex- 
cept he was lashed fast, for the waves rolled over the deck by turns, 
with a forcible rapidity and every soul on board was anxious for the pres- 
ervation of the ship, alias, their lives. Tn this storm the Thunder-bomb 
man of war, sprang a leak, and was afterwards floated to some part to 
the coast of England, and the crew saved. We were then said to be in 
the Bay of Biscay. After the storm abated, I could plainly discern the 
prisoners were better used for some considerable lime. 

Nothing of consequence happened after this, till we had sailed to the 
island of Maderia, except a certain favor I had received of captain Sym- 
onds, in consequence of an application I made to him for the privilege 
of his tailor to make me a suit of clothes of the cloth bestowed pn me 
in Ireland, which he generously granted. I could then walk the deck 
with a seeming better grace. When we had reached Maderia, and an- 
chored, sundry gentlemen with the captain went on shore, who I con- 
clude, gave the rumor that I was in the frigate ; upon which I soon after 
found that Irish generosity was again excited ; for a gentleman of that 
nation sent his clerk on board; to know of me if I would accept a sea 


slore from hltn, pfiitlculariy wine. Tliis matter I made known to the 
generous lieutenant Douglass, who readily granted me the favor, pro- 
vided the articles could be brought on board, during the time of his com- 
mand ; adding that it would be a pleasure to him to serve me, notwith- 
standing the opposition he met with before. So I directed the gentle- 
man's clerk to inform him that I was greatly in need of so signal a charity, 
and desired the young gentleman to make the utmost despatch, which 
he did; but in the meantime, captain Symonds and hts ofiicers came on 
board, and immediately made ready for sailing; the wind at the same 
time being fair, set- sail when the young gentleman was in fair sight 
with the aforesaid store. 

• Tiie reader will doubtless recollect the seven guineas I received at the 
cove of Cork. These enabled me to purchase of ihe purser what I want- 
ed, had not the Captain strictly forbidden it, though I made sundry ap- 
plications to him for that purpose ; but his answer to me, when I was 
sick, was, that it was no matter how soon I was dead, and that he was 
no ways anxious to preserve the lives of rebels, but wished them all dead ; 
and indeed that was t!ie language of most of the ship's crew. J expos- 
tulated not only with the captain, but with other gentlemen on board, on 
the unreasonableness of such usage ; inferring that, inasmuch as the 
government in England did not proceed against me as a capital ofiender, 
they should not; for that they were by no means empowered by any au- 
lhori:y, either civil or military, to do so ; for the English government had 
acquitted me by sending mo back a prisoner of war to America, and 
that they should treat me as such. I further drev*' an inference of impoli- 
cy on ihein, provided they should by hard usage, destroy my life ; inas- 
much as I might, if living, redeem one of their officers; but the captain 
replied, that lie needed no directions of mine how to treat a rebel ; that 
the British would conquer the American rebels, hang the Congress, and 
such as promoted the rebellion, me in particular, and retake their ovm 
prisoners ; so that my life was of no consequence in the scale of then- 
policv. I gave him for answer that if they stayed till they conquered 
America, before they hanged me, T should die of old age, and desired that 
till such an event took place, he would at least allow me to purchase of the 
purser, from my own money, such articles as I greatly needed ; but he would 
not permit it, and when I reminded him of the generous and civil usage 
that their prisoners in captivity in America met with, he said that it was 
not owing to their goodness but their timidity ; for, said he, they expect 
to be conquered, and therefore dare not misuse our prisoners; and ni 
fact this was the language of the British officers, till Burgoyne was taken ;'^ 

*H was tlio plan of the British generals, to push a body of troops from New York, 
.* „ 1 ,,,,°.. „„,i i„. „^t-,i,i;c.!,;iiT fi inf. of British nosts on 

nil CHnton with a force ot three tliousaiia men look pcb.ubbiu.i .,. ^ p. x.^..-.^^..^.^ , 
a ter severe ks^. General Vauohan, wi'li a body of troops, on board of armed ships, 
Sed np he n^^dson, as far as L>vin<r.ton's nuu.or, where he landed a parly burnt a 
k le hou e belon.Mno- to oi.e of the f^.uily ; tlien .ent a party to the opposite shore and 
d in ashes the to wn^of Kingston. ButCeaeral ^-^Soyne,'lc^^^nnsonhe^o^^^ 
tvveen his army and the division from New \ork, surrounded by a ^=upaiioi aimj, and 

26 ETHAN Allen's 

happy event ! and not only of the officers but the whole Briiish arm^', 
I appeal to all my brother prisoners, who have been with the British in 
the southern Department, for a confirmation of what 1 have advanced 
on this subject. The surgeon of the Solebay, whose name was North, 
was a very humane, obliging man, and took the best care of the prison- 
ers who were sick. 

The liiird day of May we cast anchor in the harbor of Cape Fear, in 
North Carolina, as.did Sir Peter Parker's ship, of 50 guns, a little back 
of the bar ; for there was not depth of water for him to come into the 
harbor. These two men of war, and fourteen sail of transports and oth- 
ers, came after, so that most of the fleet rendezvoused at Cape Fear, 
for three weeks. The soldiers on board the transports, were sickly, in 
consequence of so long a passage ; add to this the small-pox carried off 
many of them. They landed on the main, and formed a camp •, but 
the riflemen annoyed them, and caused them to move to an island in the 
harbor ; but such cursing of riflemen I never heard. 

A detachment of regulars was sent up Brunswick river ; as they land- 
ed, they were fired on by those marksmen, and they came back next 
day damning the rebels for their unmanly way of fighting, and swearing 
that they would give no quarter, for they took sight at them, and were be- 
hind timber skuiking about. One of the detachments said tlicy lost one 
man ; but a negro man who was willi tliem, and heard what was said, soon 
after told me that he helped to bury thirty-one of them ; this did me some 
good to find my countrymen giving them battle ; for I never heard such 
swaggering as among Gen. Clinton's little army who commanded at that 
time ; and I am apt to think theie were four thousand men, though not 
two thirds of them fit for duty. T heard numbers of them say, that the 
trees in i^merica should hang well with fruit that campaign for they 
would give no quarter. Tiiis was in the mouths of most who I heard 
speak on the subject, officer as well as soldier. I wished at that limo 
my countrymen knew, as well as I did, what a murdering and cruel ene- 
my they had to deal with ; but experience has since taught this country;, 
what they are to expect at th.e hands of Britons when in their power. 

The prisoners, who had been sent on board difiercnt men of war at 
the cove of Cork, were collected together, and the whole of them put 
on board the Mercury frigate, capt. James Montague, except one of the 
Canadians, who died on the passage from Ireland, and Peter Noble, who 
made his escape from the Sphynx man-of-war in this harbour, and, by 
extraordinary swimming, got safe home to New England, and gave In- 
telligence of the usage of his brother prisoners. The Mercury set sail 
from this port for Halifax, about the 20th of May, and Sir Peter Parker 
was about to sail with the land forces, under the command of Gen. Clin- 
ton, for the reduction of Charleston, the capitol of South Carolina, and 
when I heard of his defeat in Halifax, it gave me inexpressible satisfaction. 

I now found myself under a worse captain than Symonds; for Blon- 
tague was loaded with prejudices against every body, and every thino- 

unable to retreat, consented to capitulate, and the 17th of October, surrendered to the 
American General. The detaclimcnt under General Vautrhan rf^turncd to New York 
and the plan ot the British commanders was totally frustrated. 


Vr.rjt was not stamped with royalty ; atid being by nature tlnderwitfed, 
his wrath was heavier than the others, or at least his mind was in no in- 
stance liable to be diverted by good sense, humor or braveryj of which 
Symonds was by turns susceptible. A Capt. Francis Proctor Was added 
to our number of prisoners when we were first put on boaad this ship. 
This gentleman had formerly belonged to the English service. The 
Captain, and in fine, all the gentlemen of the ship, were very much in- 
censed against him, and put him in irons without the least provocation, 
and he was continued in this miserable situation about three months. In 
this passage the prisoners were infected with the scurvy, some more and 
some less, but most of them severely. The ship's crew was to a great 
degree troubled with it, and I concluded that it was catching. Several of 
the crew died with it on their passage. I vvas weak and feeble in conse- 
quence of so long and cruel captivity, yet had but little of the scurvy. 

The purser was again expressly forbid by the captain to let me have any 
thing out of his store ; upon which I went upon deck, and in the hand- 
somest manner requested the favor of purchasing a few necessaries of 
the purser, which was denied me ; he further told me, that I should be 
hanged as soon as I arrived at Halifax. I tried to reason the matter 
with him, but found him proof against reason ; I a'so held up his honor 
to view, and his behavior to ine and the prisoners in general, as being 
derogatory to it, but found his honor impenetrable. I then endeavored 
to touch his humanity, but found he had none ; for his prepossession of 
bigotry to his own party, had confirmed him in an opinion, that no hu- 
manity was due to unroyalists, but seemed to think that heaven and earth 
were made merely to gratify the King and his creatures ; he uttered con- 
siderable unintelligible and grovelling ideas, a little tinctured with mon- 
archy, bot stood well to his text of hanging mo. He afterwards forbade 
his surgeon to administer any help to the sick prisoners. I vvas every 
night shut down in the cable tier, with the rest of the prisoners, and we 
all lived miserable while under his power. But I received some generoisi- 
ty from several of the midshipmen, who in a degree alleviated my mise- 
ry ; one of their names was Putrass, the names of the others I do not 
recollect; but they were obliged to be private in the bestowment of their 
favor, which was sometimes good wine bitters, and at others a generous 

drink of grog. , tt t 

Sometime in the first week of June, we came to anchor at the llook 
off New York, where we remained but three days ; in which time gov- 
ernor Tryon, Mr. Kemp, the old attorney general of New York, and 
several other perfidious and over grown tories and land-jobbers, catne on 
board. Tryon viewed me with a stern countenance, as I was walking 
on the leeward side the deck with the midshipmen ; and he and his 
companions were walking with the captain and lieutenant, on the 
windward side of the same, but never spoke to me. though it is altogeth- 
er probable that he thought of the old quarrel between him, the old gov- 
ernment of New York, and the Green Mountain Coys. Then they went 
with the captain into the cabin, and the same afternoon returned on board 
a vessel, where at that time they took sanctuary from the resentment of 
their injured country. What passed between the officers of the ship and 
these visitors I know not ;but this I know that my treatment from tiie 
fficers was more severe afterwards. 

28 ETHAN Allen's 

We arrived al Halifax not far from the middle of June, where the 
ship's crew, which was infested with the scurvy, were taken on shore, 
and shallow trenches dug, into which they were put, and partly covered 
with earth. Indeed every proper measure was taken for their relief. 
The prisoners were not permitted any sort of medicine, but were put on 
board a sloop which lay in the harbor, near tiie town of Halifax, sur- 
rounded with several men of war and their tenders, and a guard constant- 
ly set over them, night and day. The sloop we had wholly to ourselves 
except the guard who occupied the forecastle ; here we were cruelly 
pinched with hunger; it seemed to me that we had not more than one 
third of the common allowance. We were all seized with violent hunger 
and faintness ; we divided our scanty allowance as exact as possible. I 
shared the same fate with the rest, and though they ofl'ered me more than 
an even share, I refused to accept it, as it was a time of substantial 
distress, which in my opinion I ought to partake equally with the rest, 
and set an example of virtue and fortitude to our little commonvvcalth. 

I sent letter after letter to captain Montague, who still had the care of 
us, andal so to his lieutenant, whose name I cannot call to mind, but could 
obtain no answer, much less a redress of grievances ; and to add to the 
calamity, near a dozen of the prisoners were dangerously ill of the scur- 
vy. I wrote private letters to the doctors, to procure, if possible, soiPie 
remedy for the sick, but in vain. The chief physician came by in a 
boat, so close that the oars touched the sloop that we were in, and I ut- 
tered my complaint in the-genteelest manner to him, but he never so 
much as turned his head, or made me any answer, though I continued 
speaking till he got out of hearing. Our cause then became deplorable. 
Still I kept writing to the captain, till he ordered the guards, as they told 
me, not to bring any more letters from me to him. In the meantime an 
event happened worth relating. One of the men almost dead with the 
scurvy, lay by the side of the sloop, and a canoe of Indians coming by, 
he purchased two quarts of strawberries, and ate them at once, and il 
almost cured him. The money he gave for them was all the money he 
had in the world. After that we tried every way to procure more of 
that fruit, reasoning from analogy that they might have the same effect 
on others infested with tiie same disease, but could obtain none. 

Meanwhile the doctor's mate of the Mercury came privately on board 
the prison sloop and presented me with a large vial of smart drops, which 
proved to be good for the scurvy, though vegetables and some other in- 
gredients were requsite for a cure ; but the drops gave at least a check 
to the disease. This was a well-timed exertion of humanity, but the 
doctor's name has slipped my mind, and in my opinion, it was the means 
of saving the lives of several men. 

The guard, which was set over us, was by this time touched with the 
feelings of compassion ; and I finally trusted one of them with a letter of 
complaint to governor Arbuthnot, of Halifax, which he found means to 
communicate, and which had the desired effect : for the governor sent 
an officer and surgeon on board the prison sloop, to know the truth of 
the complaint. The officer's name was Russell wlio held the rank of 
lieutenant, and treated me in a friendly and polite manner, and was really 

angfy at the cruel and unmanly usnge the prisoners met with ; and with 
the surgeon made a true report of matters to governor Arbuthnoi, who, 
either by his order or influence, took us next day from the prison sloop to 
Halifax jail, where I first became acquainted with the now Hon. James 
Lovel, one of the members of Congress for the state of Massachusetts. 
Tiie sick were taken to the hospital, and the Canadians, who were etrec- 
tive,vvere employed in the King's works; and when their countrymen were 
recovered from thescurvy and joined them, they all deserted the king's em- 
ploy, and were not heard of at Halifax, as long as the remainder of the 
prisoners continued there, which was till near the middle of October. 
We were on board the prison sloop about six weeks, and were landed at 
Halifax near the middle of August. Several of our English-American 
prisoners, who were cured of the scurvy at the hospital, made their es- 
cape from thence, and after a long time reached their old habitations. 

I had now but thirteen with me, of those who were taken in Canada, 
and remained in jail with me in Halifax, who, in addition to those that 
were imprisoned before, made our number about thirty-four, who were 
all locked up in one common large room, without regard to rank, educa- 
tion or any other accomplishment, where we continued from the setting to 
the rising sun, and, as sundry of them were infected with the jail and 
other distempers, the furniture of this spacious room consisted principal- 
ly of excrement tubs. We j^etitioned for a removal of the sick into the 
liospitals, but were denied. We remonstrated against the ungenerous 
usage of being confined with the privates, as being contrary to the laws 
and customs of nations, and particularly ungrateful in them in conse- 
quence of the gentleman-like usage which the British imprisoned officers 
met with in America ; and thus we wearied ourselves, petitionirgand rc» 
monstrating, but to no purpose at all ; for general Massey, who com- 
manded at Halifax, was as inflexible as the devil himself, a line prepara- 
tive this for Mr. Level, member of the Continental Congress. 

Lieutenant Russell, whom I have mentioned before, came to visit me 
in prison, and assured me tliat he had done his utmost to procure my 
parole for enlargement ; at which a British captain, who was then town- 
major, expressed compassion for the gentlemen confined in the filthy 
place, and assured me that he had used his influence to procure their en- 
largement; his name was near like Ramsey. Among the prisoners there 
were five in number, who had a legal claim lo a parole, viz. James Lev- 
el, Esq., captain Francis Proctor, a Mr. Hovvland, master of a continen- 
tal armed vessel, a Mr. Taylor, his mate, and myself. 

As to the article of provision, we were well served, much better than 
in any part of my captivity; and since it was Mr. Level's misfortunes 
and mine to be prisoners, and in so wretched circumstances, 1 was happy 
that we were together as a mutual support to each other, and to the un- 
fortunate prisoners with us. Our first attention was the preservation of 
ourselves and injured little republic; the rest of our time we devoted in- 
terchangeably to politics and philosophy, as patience was a needful ex- 
ercise in so evil a situation, but contentment mean and impracticable. 

I had not been in this jail many days, before a worthy and charitable 
woman, by the name of Mrs. Blacden, supplied me with a good dinner 


of fresh meats every day, with garden fruit, and sometimes with a bottle 
of wine: notwithstanding which I had not been more than three weeks 
in tl'.is place before I lost all appetite to the most delicious food, by the 
jail distemper, as also did sundry of the prisoners, particularly a sergeant 
Moore, a man of courage and fidelity. I have several limes seen him hold 
the boatswain of the Solebay frigate, when he attempted to strike him, 
and laughed him out of conceit of using him as a slave. 

A doctor visited the sick, and did the best, as I suppose, he coidd for 
them, to no apparent purpose. I grew weaker and weaker, as did the 
rest. Several of them could not help themselves. At last I reasoned 
m my own mind, raw onion would be good. I made use of it, and 
found immediate relief by it, as did the sick in general, particularly ser- 
geant Moore, whom it recovered almost from the shades ; though I had 
met with a little revival, still I found the malignant liand of Britain had 
greatly reduced my constitution with stroke upon stroke. Esquire Lov- 
el and myself used every argument and entreaty that could be well con- 
ceived of in order to obtain gentleman-like usage, to no purpose. I then 
wrote Gen. Massey as severe a letter as I possibly could with my friend 
Lovel's assistance. The contents of it was to give the British, as a na- 
tion, and him as an individual, their true character. This roused the 
rascal, for he could nni-bear to see his and the nation's deformity in that 
transparent letter, which I sent him ; he therefore put himself in a great 
rage about it, and showed the letter to a number of British officers, par- 
ticularly to captain Smith of the Lark frigate, who, instead of joining 
with him in disapprobation, commended the spirit of it ; upon which 
general Massey said to him do you take the part of a rebel against me ? 
Captain Smith answered that he rather spoke his sentiments, and there 
was a dissention in opinion between them. Some officers took tiie part 
of the general, and others of ihe captain. This I was informed of by 
a gentleman who had it from captain Smith. 

In a few days after this, the prisoners were ordered to go on board 
of a man of war, which was bound for Ne^v York ; but two of them 
were not able to go on board, and were left at Halifax ; one died ; and 
the other recovered. This was about the 12lh of October, and soon af- 
ter we had got on board, tlie captain sent for me in particular to co:no 
on the quarter deck. I went, not knowing that it was captain Smith, or 
his ship, at that time, and expected to meet the same rigorous usage I 
had commonly met with, and prepared my mind accordingly ; but when 
I came on deck, the captain met me with his hand, welcomed me to his 
ship, invited me to dine with him that day, and assured me that I should 
be treated as a gentleman, and that he had given orders, that I should be 
treated with respect by the ship's crew. This was so unexpected and 
sudden a transition, thai it drew tears from my eyes, which all the ill 
usage 1 had before met with, was not able to produce, nor could I at 
first hardly speak, but soon recovered myself and expressed my gratitude 
for so unexpected a favor ; and let him know tiial I felt anxiety of mind 
in reflecting that his situation and mine was such, that it was not proba- 
ble that it would ever be in my power to return the favor. Captain 
Smith replied, that he had no reward in view, but only treated me as a 
gentleman ought to be treated ; he said this is a mutable world, and one 



getitlenian never knows but it may be in liis power to help another. 
Soon after 1 found this to be the same captain Smith who took my part 
against general Massey ; but lie never mentioned anything of it to me, 
and I thought it impolite in me to interrogate him, as to any disputes which 
might have arisen between him and the general on my account, as I was 
a prisoner, and that it was at his option to make free with me on that 
subject, if he pleased; and if he did not, I might take it for granted 
tliat it would be unpleasing for me to query about it, though I had a 
strong propensity to converse with him on that subject. 

I dined with the captain agreeable to his invitation, and oftentimes 
with the lieutenant, in the gun-room, but in general ate and drank with 
my friend Level and the other gentlemen who were prisoners with me, 
where I also slept. 

We had a little berth enclosed witli canvass, between decks, where we 
enj.oyed ourselves very well, in hopes of an exchange ; besides, our friends 
at Halifax had a little notice of our departure, and supplied us with spir- 
ituous liquor, and many articles of provision for the cost. Captain Burk, 
having been taken prisoner, was added to our company, (he had com- 
manded an American armed vessel) and was generously treated by the 
captain and all the officers of the sliip, as well as myself. We now had 
in all near thirty prisoners on board, and as we were sailing along the 
coast, if I recollect right, off Ilhode Island, captain Burk, with an under 
officer of the ship, whose name I do not recollect, came to our little 
berth, proposed to kill captain Smith and the principal officers of the 
frigate and take it ; adding that there were thirty-five thousand pounds 
sterling in the same. Captain Burk likewise averred that a strong party 
out of the ship's crew was in the conspiracy, and urged me, and the 
gentleman that was with me, to use our influence with tlie private pris- 
oners, to execute the design, and take the ship with the cash into one of 
our own ports. 

Upon which I replied, that we had been too well used on board to mur- 
der the officers ; that I could by no means reconcile it to my conscience, 
and that, in fact, it should not be done ; and while I was yet speaking, 
my friend Level confirmed what I had said, and farther pointed out the 
ungratefulness of such an act ; that it did not fall short of murder, and 
in fine all the gentlemen in the berth opposed captain Burk and his col- 
league. But they strenuously urged that the conspiracy would be found 
out, and that it would cost them their lives, provided they did not exe- 
cute their design. I then interposed spiritedly, and put an end to fur- 
ther argument on the subject, and told them that they might depend up- 
on it, upon my honor, that I would faithfully guard captain Smith's life. 
If they should attempt the assault, 1 would assist him, for they desired 
me to remain neuter, and that the same honor that guarded captain 
Smith's life, would^also guard theirs ; and it was agreed by those present 
not to reveal the conspiracy, to the intent that no man should be put to 
death, in consequence of what had been projected; and captain Burk 
and his colleague went to stifle the matter among their associates. I 
could not help calling to mind what captain Smith said to me, when 
I first came on board : " This is a mutable world, and one gentleman 

32 ETHAN allkn's 

never knows but that it may be in his pow;er to help another." Captain 
Sniiih and his (jCicers still behaved with their usual courtesy, and I nev- 
er heard any more of the conspiracy. 

We arrived before New York, and cast anchor the latter part of Oc- 
tober, where we remained several days, and where captain Smith inform- 
ed me, that he had recommended me to admiral Howe and general 
Sir VVm. Howe, as a genljemnn of honor and veracity, and desired that 
I might be treated as such. Captain Burk Avas then ordered on board 
a prison-ship in the harbor. I look my leave of captain Smith, and with 
the otlier prisoners, was sent on board a transport ship, which lay in the 
harbor, commanded by captain Craige who took me into the cabin with 
him and his liei\tenaut. I fjred as tliey did, and was in every respect 
well treated, in cons;equcnce of directions from captain Smith. In a few 
weeks after tliis I h;id the happiness to part with my friend Lovel, for 
his sake, whom the enemy afi'ected to treat as a private ; he was a gen- 
tleman of merit, and liberally educated, but had no commission ; they 
maligned him on account of his unsjiaken attachment to the cause of 
his country. He was exchanged for a governor Phillip Skene of the 
British. 1 was continued in this ship till the latter part of November, 
where I contracted an acquaintance with the captain of the British : his 
name has slipped my memory. He was what we may call a genteel, 
hearty fellow. I remember an expression of his over a bottle of wine, to 
this import: "That there is a greatness of soul for j)ersonal friendshij) 
to subsist between you and me, as vvc arc upon o[>positc sides, and may 
at another day be obliged to face each other in tlie field." I am confi- 
dent that he was as faithful as any ofFicer in the Biitish army. At an- 
other sitting he oflered to bet a dozen of wine, that fort Washington 
would be in tl,e hands of tlie British in three days. I stood the bet, and 
would, had I known, that that would liave been the case ; and the third 
day afterwards we heard a heavy cannonade, and that day the fort was 
taken sure enough. Some months after, when I was on parole, he call- 
ed upon me with iiis usual humor, and mentioned the bet. I acknowl- 
edged I had lost it, but he said he did not mean to take it then, as I was 
a prisoner ; that he would another day call on me, when their army came 
to Bennington. I replied, that he was quite too generous, as I had fairly 
lost it ; besides, the Grcen-Mountain-Boys would not sufler them to come 
to Bennington. This was all in good humor. I shonld have been glad 
to have seen him after the defeat at Bennington, but did not. It was 
customary for a guard to attend the prisoners, which was often changed. 
One was composed of tories from Connecticut, in the vicinity of Fair- 
field and Green Farms. The sergeant's name was Iloif. They were 
very full of their invectives against the country, swaggered of tlieir loyal- 
ty to the king, and exclaimed bitterly against the '^ cowardly yankees," 
as they were pleased to term them, but finally contented themselves with 
saying, that when the country was overcome, they should be well reward- 
ed for their loyalty outof the estates of the whigs, which would be con- 
fiscated. This I found to be the general language of the tories, after I 
arrived from England on the American coast^ I heard sundry of them 
relate that the British generals had engaged them an ample reward for 


their losses, disappointments and expenditures, out of the forfeited reb- 
els' estates. Tiiis language early taught rne what lo do with torics' es- 
tates, as far as my influence can go. For it is really a game of hazard 
between whig and tory. The whigs must inevitably have lost all, in 
consequence of the abilities of the tories, and their good friends the Brit-* 
ish ; and it is no more than right the tories should run the same risk, in 
consequence of the abilities of the whigs. But of this more will be ob- 
served in the sequel of this narrative. 

Some of the last days of November, the prisoners were landed at 
New York, and I was admitted to parole with thu other officers, viz: 
Proctor, Rowland and Taylor. The privates were put into filthy church- 
es in New York, with the distressed prisoners tliat were taken at Fort 
Washington ; and the second night, sergeant Roger Moore, who was 
bold and enterprising, found means to make his escape with every of the 
remaining prisoners that were taken with me, except three, v.'ho were 
soon after exchanged. So that out of thirty-one prisoners, who went 
with me, the round exhibited in tliese sheets, two only died with the ene- 
my,andthree only were exchanged ; one of whom died after he came with- 
in our lines ; all the rest, at dillercnt times, made their escape from the 

I now found myself on parole, and restricted to the limits of the city 
of New York, where I soon projected means to live in some measure 
agreeably to my rank, though I was destitute of cash. My constitution 
vi'as almost worn out by such a long and barbarous captivity. The ene- 
my gave out that I was crazy, and wholly unmanned, but my vitals held 
sound, nor v.-as I delirjous any more than I had been from youth up ; but 
my extreme circumstances, at certain times, rendered it politic to act in 
some m.casure the madman ; and in consequence of a regular diet and 
exercise, my blood recruited, and my nerves in a great measure recover- 
ed their former tone, strength and usefulness, in the course of six months. 

I next invite the reader to a retrospective sight and consideration of 
the doleful scene of inhumanity, exercised by general Sir William Howe, 
and the army under his command, towards the prisoners taken on Long- 
Island, on the 27th day of Aug. 1776 ; sundry of whom were, in an in- 
human and barbarous manner, murdered after they had surrendered their 
arms ; particularly a general Odel, or Woodhull, of the militia, who 
was hocked to pieces u'iih cutlasses, when alive, by the light horsemen, 
and a captain Fellows, of the continental army, who was thrust through 
with a bayonet, of which wound he died instantly. Sundry others were 
hanged up by the neck till they were dead; five on the limb of a white oak 
tree, and without any reason assigned, except that they were fighting in 
defence of the only blessing worth preserving. And indeed thoso'who 
had the misfortune to fall into their hands at Fort Wiishiugton, in the 
month of November following, met with but very little belter usage, 
except that they were reserved from immediate death to famish and die 
with hunger ; in fine the word rebel, applied lo any vanquished persons, 
without regard to rank, who were in the continental service, on the 27tli 
of August aforesaid, was thought, by the enemy, sufiicient to sanctify 
whatever cruelties they were pleased to inflict, death itself not excepted ; 



but to pass over particulars which would swell my narrative far beyond 
my design. 

The private soldiers, who were brought to New-York, were crowded 
into churciies, and environed with slavish Hessian guards, a i)CopIe of 
a strange language, who were sent to America for no other design but 
cruelty and desolation ; and at others, by merciless Britons whose mode 
of communicating ideas being intilhgible in this country, served only to 
tantalize and insult the helpless and perishing ; but above all, the hell- 
ish dehght and triumph of the tories over them, as they were dying by 
hundreds. Tliis was too much for me to bear as a spectator; for I saw 
the tories exulting over the dead bodies of their murdered countrymen. 
I have gone into tlie churciies. and seen sundry of the prisoners in the 
agonies of death, in consequence of very hunger, and others speechless, 
and very near death, bitirtg pieces of chips; others pleading for God's 
sake, for something to eat, and at the same time, shivering with the cold. 
Hollow groans saluted my ears, and despair seemed to be imprinted on 
every of their countenances. The filth in these churches, in conse- 
quence of the fluxes, was almost beyond description. The floors were 
covered with excrements. I have carefully sought to direct my steps so 
as to avoid it, but could not. They would beg for God's sake for one 
copper, or morsel of bread. I have seen in one of these churches sev- 
en dead, at the same time, lying among the excrements of their bodies. 

It was a common practice with the enemy, to convey the dead from 
these filthy places, in carts, to be slightly buried, and I have seen whole 
gangs of tories making derision, and exulting over the dead, saying, 
there goes another load of damned rebels. I have observed the British 
soldiers to be full of tlieir black-guard jokes, and vaunting on those oc-- 
casions, but they appeared to me less malignant than tories. 

The provision dealt out to the prisoners was by no means sufficient 
for the support of life. It was deficient in quantity, and inuch more so 
in quality. The prisoners often presented me with a sample of their 
bread, which I certify was damaged to that degree, that it was loath- 
some and unfit to be eaten, and I am bold to aver it, as my opinion, that 
it had been condemned, and of the very worst sort. I have seen and 
been fed upon damaged bread, in the course of my captivity,' and ob- 
served the quality of such bread as has been condemned by the enemy, 
among which was very little so elTectually spoiled as what was dealt out 
to these prisoners. Their allowance of meat (as they told me) was quite 
trifting,and was of the basest sort. I never saw any of it, but was inform- 
ed, that bad as it was, it was swallowed almost as quick as they got hold 
of it. I saw some of them sucking bones after they were speechless ^ 
others, who could yet speak, and iiad the use of their reason, urged me, 
in the strongest and most pathetic manner, to use my interest in their 
behalf; for you plainly see, said they, that we are devoted to death and 
destruction ; and after I had examined more particularly into their truly 
deplorable condition, and had become more fully apprized of the essen- 
tial facts, I was persuaded that it was a premeditated and systematical 
plan of the British council, to destroy the youths of our land, with a 
view thereby to deter the country, and make it submit to their despotism ; 


'but that I could not do them any material service, and that, by any pub- 
lic attempt for that purpose, I might endanger myself by frequenting 
places tiie most nauseous and contageous that could be conceived of. I 
refrained going into churches, but frequently conversed with such of the 
prisoners as were admitted to come out into the yard, and found that the 
systematical usage still continued. The guard would ofien drive me 
away with their fixed bayonets. A Hessian one day followed me five 
or six rods, but by making use of my legs, I got rid of the lubber. Some 
times I could obtain aliule conversation, notwithstanding their severities. 
I was in one of the church yards, and it was rumored among those in 
the church, and sundry of the prisoners came with their usual complaints 
to me, and among the rest a large boned, tall young man, as he told me, 
from Pennsylvania, who was reduced to a mere skeleton ; he said he 
was glad to see me before he died, which he expected to have done last 
night, but was a little revived ; he furthermore informed me, that he and 
his brother had been urged to enlist into the British, but both had resol- 
ved to die first ; that his brother had died last night, in consequence of 
that resolution, and that he expected shortly to follow him ; but I made 
the other prisoners stand a little off, and told him with a low voice to en- 
list ; he then asked, whether it was right in the sight of God ! I assured 
him that it was, and that duty to bimself obliged him to deceive the Brit- 
ish by enlisting and deserting the first opportunity ; upon which he an- 
swered with transport that he would enlish I charged him not to men- 
tion my name as his adviser, lest it should get air, and I should be close- 
ly confined, in consequence of it. The integrity of the sufTering prison- 
ers is hardly credibly. Many hundreds, I am confident, submitted to 
death, rather than to enlist in the British service, wliich, I am informed, 
they most generally were pressed to do. I was astonished at the resolu- 
tion of the two brothers particularly; it seems that they could not be 
stimulated to such exertions of heroism from ambition, as they were but 
obscure soldiers ; strong indeed must the internal principle of virtue be, 
which supported them to brave deatli, and one of them went through 
the operation, as did many hundred others. I readily grant that instan- 
ces of public virtue are no excitement to the sordid and vicious, nor, on 
the other hand, with all the barbarity of Britian and Heshland awak- 
en them to a sense of tlieir duty to the public ; but these things will 
have their proper effect on the generous and brave. The officers on 
parole were most of them zealous, if possible, to aflord the miserable 
soldiery relief, and often consulted with one and another on the subject, 
but to no effect, being destitute of the means of subsistence, which they 
needed ; nor could the officers project any measure, which they thought 
would alter their fate, or so much as be a means of getting them out of 
those filthy places to the privilege of fresh air. Some projected that all 
the officers should go in procession to general Howe, and plead tTio cause 
of the perishing soldiers ; but this proposal was negatived for the follow- 
ing reasons, viz : because that general Howe, must needs be well acquain- 
ted, and have a thorough knowledge of the slate and condition of the 
prisoners in every of their wretched apartments, and that much more 
particular and exact than any officer on parole could be supposed to 


have, as the general had a return of the circumstances of the prisoners, 
by his own officers, every morning, of the number which were ahve, as 
also the number which died every twenty-four hours ; and consequently 
the bill of mortality, as collected from the daily returns, lay before him 
with all the material situations and circumstances of the prisoners ; and 
provided the oflicers should go in procession to general Howe, accord- 
ing to the projection, it would give him the greatest affront, and that he 
would either retort upon them, that it was no part of their parole to 
instruct him in his conduct to prisoners; that they were mutining against 
his authority, and by aflfronting him, had forfeited their parole ; or that, 
more probably, instead of saying one v.'ord to them, would order them 
all into as wretched confinement as the soldiers whom tiicy sought to 
relieve ; for, at that time, the British, from the general to the private 
sentinel, were in full confidence, nor did they so much as hesitate, but 
that they should conquer the country. Thus the consultation of the offi- 
cers was confounded and broken to pieces, in consequence of the dread, 
which at that time lay on their minds, of offending Gen. Howe ; for they 
conceived so murderous a tyrant would not be too good to destroy even 
the officers, on the least pretence of an affront, as they were equally in 
his power with the soldiers ; and, as Gen. Howe perfectly understood the 
condition of the private soldiers, it was argued that it was exactly such 
as he and his council had devised, and as he meant to destroy them it 
would be to no purpose for them to try to dissuade him from it, as they 
were helpless and liable to the same fate, on giving the least aflVont; in- 
deed anxious apprehensions disturbed them in their then circumstances. 
Mean time mortality raged to such an intolerable degree among the 
prisoners, that the very school boys in the streets knew the mental design 
of it in some measure; at least, they knew that they were starved to 
death. Some poor women contributed to their necessity, till their child- 
ren were almost starved, and all persons of common understanding knew 
that they vi^ere devoted to the crudest and worst of deaths. It was also 
proposed by some to make a written representation of the condition of 
the soldiery, and the officers to sign it, and that it should he couched in 
such terms, as though they were apprehensive that the General was im- 
posed upon by his officers, in their daily returns to him of the state and 
condition of the prisoners ; and that therefore the officers, moved with 
compassion, were constrained to communicate to him the facts relative 
to them, notiiing doubting but that they would meet with a speedy re- 
dress ; but this proposal was most generally negatived also, and for 
much the same reason offered in the other case ; for it was conjectured 
that Gen. Howe's indignation would be moved against such othcers as 
should attempt to whip him over his officers' backs ; that he would dis- 
cern that himself was really struck at, and not the officers who made 
the dailjj returns ; and therefore self-preservation deterred the officers 
from either petitioning or remonstrating to Gen. Howe, either verbally 
or in writing ; as also the consideration that no valuable purpose to the 
distressed would be obtained. 

I made several rough drafts on the subject, one of which I exhibited 
to the colonels Magaw, Miles and Atlee, and they said that they would 


consider the matter; soon after I called on tlicm, and some of tlic gen- 
tlemen informed me that they had written to the general on the subject, 
and I concluded that the gentleman thought it best that tiiey sliould 
write without me, as there was such spirited aversion subsisting between^ 
the British and me. 

In the mean time a colonel Hussecker, of the continental army, as he 
then reported, was taken prisoner, and brought to New-York, who gave 
out that the country was almost universally submitting to the English 
king's authority, and that there would be little or no more opposition to 
Great-Britain. This at first gave the officers a little shock, but in a few 
days they recovered themselves ; for this colonel Hyssecker, being a 
German, was feasting with general De Heister, his countryman, and 
from his conduct they were appreliensive that he was a knave ; at least 
he was esteemed so by most of the officers ; it was nevertheless a day of 
trouble. The enemy blasphemed. Our little army was retreating in 
New-Jersey, and our young men murdered by hundreds in New-York. 
The army of Britain and Heshland prevailed for a little season, as though 
it was ordered by Heaven to shew, to the latest posterity, what the Brit- 
ish would have done if they could, and what the general calamity must 
have been, in consequence of their conquering the country, and to excite 
every honest man to stand forth in the defence of liberty, and to establish 
the independency of the United States of America forever. But this 
scene of adverse fortune did not discourage a Washington. The* illus- 
trious American hero remained immoveable. In liberty's cause lie took 
up his sword. This reflection was his support and consolation in the 
day of his humiliation, when he retreated before the enemy, through 
New-Jersey into Pennsylvania, Their triumph only roused his indigna- 
tion ; and the important cause of his country, which lay near his heart, 
moved him to cross the Delaware again, and take ample satisfaction on ■ 
his pursuers. No sooner had he circumvallated his haughty foes, and 
appeared, in terrible array, but the host of Heshland fell. This taught 
America the intrinsic worth of perseverance, and the generous sons of 
freedom flew to the standard of their common safeguard and defence; 
from which time the arm of American liberty hath prevailed.* 

This surprise- and capture of the Hessians enraged the enemy, who 
were still vastly more numerous than the continental troops. Tliey 

* The American army being greatly reduced by the loss of men taken prisoners, 
and by the dejDartiire of men whose inhstments liad expired, CTcneral Washington 
was obliged to retreat towards Philadelphia; General Howe, exulting in his suc- 
cesses, i")ursued him, notwithstanding tlie weather v/as severely cold. To add to 
the disasters of the Americans, General Lee was surprised and taken prisoner at 
Baskenridge. In this gloomy slate of affairs, many persons joined the British cause 
and took protection. But a small band of heroes checked tlie tide of British suc- 
ces. A divisions of Hessians had advanced to Trenton, where they repc;sed in se- 
curity. Genera! Washington was on the opposite side of the Delaware, will* about 
three thousand men, many of whom Avere without shoes or convenient clothing; 
and the river was covered with floating ice. But the oeneral knew the importance 
of striking some successful blow, to animate the expiring hopes of the country ; 
and on tlie night of December 25th, crossed the river, and fell upon the enemy by 
surprise, and took the whole body consisting of about nine hundred men. A Cew 
were killed, among whom was colonel Rahl the commander. • 

38 Etii>N Allen's 

therefore collected, and marched from Princeton, to attack general 
Washington, who was then at Trenton, having previously left a detach- 
ment from their main body at Princeton, for the support of that place. 

vThis was a trying titnc, for our worthy general, though in possession of 
a late most astonishing victory, was by no means able to withstand the 
collective force of the enemy ; but his sagacity soon suggested a strata- 
gem to effect that which, by force, to him was at that time impracti- 
cable. He therefore amused the enemy with a number of fires, and in 
the night made a forced march, undiscovered by them, and next morn- 
ing fell in with their rear-guard at Princeton, and killed and took most 
of them prisoners. The main body too late perceived their rear was 
attacked, hurried back with all speed, but to their mortification, found 
that they were out-generalled and bafRed by general Washington, who 
was retired with his little army towards Morristown, and was out of their 
power.* These repeated successes, one on the back of the other, cha- 
grined the enemy prodigiously, and had an amazing operation in the 
scale of American politics, and undoubtedly was one of the corner stones, 
on which their fair structure of Indepedency has been fabricated, for 
•the country at no one time has ever been so much dispirited, as just be- 
fore the morning of this glorious success, which in part dispelled the 
gloomy clouds of oppression and slavery, which lay pending over Amer- 
ica, big wilh the ruin of this and future generations, and enlightened 
and spirited her sons to redouble their blows on a merciless, and haughty, 
and I may add perfidious enemy. 

Farthermore, this success had a mighty effect on General Howe and 
his council, and roused them to a sense of their own weakness, and 
convinced them that they were neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Their 
obduracy and death-designing malevolence, in some measure, abated 

■ or was suspended. The prisoners, who were condemned to the most 
wretched and crudest of deaths, and who survived to this period, though 
most of theuj died before, were iinmodiately ordered to be sent within 
Gen. Washington's lines for an exchange, and, in consequence of it, 
were taken out of their filthy and poisonous places of confinement, and 
sent from New- York to their friends in haste ; several of them fell dead 
in the streets of New-York, as they attempted to walk to the vessels in 
the harbor, for their inteiuled embarkation. What numbers lived to reach 

* On the 2tl of January. 1777, Lord Cornwallis appeared near Trenton, with a 
strong liody of troops. Skirmisliing took place, and impeded the march of the 
British army, until the Americans had secured their artillery and baggage ; when 
they retired to tlie southward of ihe creek, ami repulsed the enemy in their attempt 
to pass the bridge. As General Washington's force was not sufficient to meet the 
enemy, and his situation was critical, he determined, with the advncc of a council 
of war, to attempt a stratagem. He gave orders for the tioops to light fires in their 
camp, (which Avere intended 1o deceive the enemy.) and be prepared to march. 
Accordingly at twelve o'clock at night the troops leii the ground, and by a circuit- 
ous march, eluded the vigilance of the enemy, and early in the morning appeared 
* at Priacton. A smart action ensued, but the British troops gave way. A party 
took refuge in the college, a building with strong stone Avails. bu,t were forced to 
surrender. The enemy lost in killed, Avounded and prisoners,' about five hundred 
men. The Americans lost butfeAvmen; but among thera Avas a most valuable 
officer, general Mercer. 


the lines I cannot ascertain, but, from concurrent representations which 
1 have since received from numbers of people who lived in and adjacent 
to such parts of the country, where they were received from tlie enemy, 
I apprehend that most of them died in consequence of the vile usage of 
the enemy. Some vvh.o were eye witnesses of that scene of mortality, 
more especially in that j)art which continued after the exciiange took 
place, are of oi»inion, that it was partly in consequence of a slow poison ; 
but this I refer to the doctors that attended them, who are certainly the 
best judges. 

Upon the best calculation I have been able to make from personal 
knowledge, and the many evidences I have collected in support of the 
facts, I learn that, of the prisoners taken on Long-Island. Fort Wash- 
ington, and some few others, at different times and places, about two 
thousand perished with hunger, cold and sickness, occasioned by the 
filth of their prisons, at New-York, and a number more on their passage 
to the continental lines. Most of the residue, who reached their friends, 
having received their death wound, could not be restored by tlie assist- 
ance of physicians and friends; but like their brother prisoners, fell a 
sacrifice to the relentless and scientific barbarity of Britain. I took as 
much pains as my circumstances would admit of, to inform myself not 
only of matters of fact, but likewise of the very design and aims of 
General Howe and his council. The latter of which I predicated on 
ihe former, and submit it to the candid public. 

And lastly, the aforesaid success of the American arms had a happy 
effect on the continental officers who were on parole at New-York. A 
number of us assembled, but not in a public manner, and with full 
bowls and glasses, drank Gen. ¥/ashington's health, and were not un- 
mindful of Congress and our worthy friends on the continent, and al- 
lost forgot that we were prisoners. 

A few days after this recreation, a British officer of rank and import- 
ance in their army, whose name I shall not mention in this narrative, 
for certain reasons, though I have mentioned it to some of my close 
friends and confidants, sent for me to his lodgings, and told me, " That 
faithfulness, though in a wrong cause, had nevertheless recommended 
me to Gen. Sir William Howe, who was minded to make me a colonel 
of a regiment of ncvv levies, alias tories, in the British service ; and pro- 
posed that I should go with him, and some other officers, to England, 
who would embark for that purpose in a few days, and there be intro- 
duced to Lord G. Germaine, and probably to the King ; and that pre- 
viously I should be clothed equal to such an introduction, and, instead 
of paper rags, be paid in hard guineas ; after this, should embark with 
Gen. Burgoyne, and assist in the reduction of the country, which infal- 
libly would be conquered, and, when that should be done, I should 
have a large tract of land, either in the New-Hampshire grants, or in 
Connecticut, it would make no odds, as the country would be forfeited 
to the crown." I then replied, " That, if by faithfulness I had recom- 
mended myself to Gen. Howe, I should be loth, by unfaithfulness, to 
lose the General's good opinion ; besides, that I viewed the offer of land 
to be similar to that which the devil offered Jesus Christ, " To give him 

40 • ETHAN Allen's 

all tlie kingdoms of the world, if he would fall down and worship him ; 
wlieii at tlie same time, the damned soul had not one foot of land upon 
earth." 'i'his closed the conversation, and the gentleman turned from 
me with an air of dislike, saying, that I was a bigot; upon which I re- 
tired to my lodgings.* 

Near the last of November, I was admitted to parole in New-York, 
with many other American officers, and on the 22d of January, 1777, 
was with them directed by the British commissary of prisoners to be 
quartered on the westerly part of Long-Island, and our parol continued. 
During my imprisonment there, no occurrences worth observation hap- 
pened. I obtained tlie means of living as well as I desired, which in a 
great measure repaired my constitution, which had been greatly injured 
by the severities of an inhuman captivity. I now began to feel myself 
composed, expecting either an exchange, or continuance in good and 
honorable treatm.ent ; but alas ! my visionary expectations soon vanished. 
The news of the conquest of Ticonderoga by general Burgoyne,f and 
the advance of his army into the country, made the haughty Britons 
again feel their importance, and with that, their insatiable thirst for 

The private prisoners at New- York, and some of the officers on parole, 
felt the severity of it. Burgoyne was to them a demi-god. To him 
they paid adoration : in him the tories placed their confidence, " and 
forgot llie Lord their God," and served Howe, Burgoyne and Knyp- 
hausen,J " and became vile in their own imagination, and their foolish 
hearts were darkened," professing to be great politicians and relying on 
foreign and merciless invaders, and with them seeking the ruin, blood- 
shed and destruction of their country ; " became fools," expecting with 
them to share a dividend in the confiscated estates of their neighbors 
and countrynien wIjo fought for the whole country, and the religion and 
liberties thereof. " Therefore, God gave them over to strong delusions, 
to believe a lie, that tliey all might be damned." 

The 25th day of August, I was was apprehended, and, under pretext 
of artful, mean and pitiful pretences, that I iiad infringed on my parole, 

* This conduct of Colonel Allen, though springing from duty, ought not to be 
passed over without tributary praise. The refusal of such an offer and in such 
circumstances, was highly meritorious. Though the man of strict honor, and rigid 
integrity, deems the plaudit of his ov/n conscience an ample reward for his best 
actions, it is a pleasing employment, to those who v/itness such actions, (o record 
them. It is an incentive to others to ' go and do likewise.' 

t In June, 1777, the British army, amounting to several thousand men, besides 
Indians and Canadians, commanded by general Burgoyne, crossed the lake and 
laid siege to Ticonderoga. In a short time, the enemy gained possession of Sugar 
Hill, which commanded the American lines, and general St. Clair, Avith the advice 
of a council of war, ordered the post to be abandoned. The retreat of the Amer- 
icans was conducted under every possible disadvantage — part of their force em- 
barked in batteaux and landed at Skenesborough — a pan marclied by the way of 
Caslleton ; but they were obliged«to leave their heavy cannon, and on their march, 
lost great part of their baggage and stores, while their rear was harassed by the 
British troops. An action took place between colonel Warner, Avith a body of 
Americans, and general Frazer, in which the Americans were defeated, after a 
brave resistance, with the loss of a valuable officer, colonel Francis. 

I Kiiyphau.7en. a Ilcssian general. 


taken from a tavern, where there were more than a dozen officers pre- 
sent and, in the very place where those officers ai)d myself were direct- 
ed to he quartered, put under a strong guard and taken to New- York, 
where I expccred to ma!;e my defence before the commanding officer; 
but, contrary to my expectations, and uitliout the least solid pretence of 
justice or a trial, was .ngain encircled with a strong guard with fixed 
bayonets, and conducted to the provost-goal in a lonely apartment, next 
above the dungeon, and was denied ail manner of subsistence' either 
by purchase or allowance, 'i'he second day 1 oflered a guinea for a 
meal of victuals, but was denied it, and the third day I oiiered eight 
Spanish milled dollars for a like favor, but u'as denied, and all I could 
get out of the sergeant's mouth, was that by God he would obey his 
orders. T now perceived myself to be again in substantial trouble. In 
this condition I formed an oblique acquaintance with a Capt. Travis, of 
Virginia, who was in tlie dungeon l)elow me, througli a little hole which 
was cut with a pen-knife, through the floor of my apartment which 
communicated vvitli the dungeon ; it was a small crevice, through which 
I could discern but a very small part of his face at once, when he applied 
it to the hole; but from the discovery of him in the situation which we 
were both then in, I could not have knou-n him, wiiich I found to be 
true by an after acquaintance. T could nevertheless hold a conversation 
with him, and coon perceived him to be a gentleman of high spirits, 
who had a high sense of honor, and felt as big, as though he had 
been in a palace, and had treasures of wrath in store against the British. 
In fine I was charmed with the spirit of the man ; he had been near or 
quite four months in that dungeon, with murderers, thieves, and every 
species of criminals, and all for the sole crime of unshaken fidelity to 
his country ; but his spirits Vv'ere above dejection, an I his mind uncon- 
iquerable. I engaged to do him every service in my power, and in a 
few weeks afteru'ards, vvitli the uniied petitions of the ofRcers, in the 
provost, procured his dismission from the dark mansion of fiends to the 
apartments of his petitioners. 

And it came to pass on the Sd day, at the going down of the sun, 
that I was presented Vvith a piece of boiled pork, and some biscuit, which 
the sergeant gave me to understand, was my nil )\vance, and I fed 
sweetly on the same ; but I indulged my af>petite by degrees, and in a 
few davs more, was taken from that apartment, and conducted to the 
next loft or story, whore thore were above twenty conunental, and some 
militia ofiicfrs, vvlio had been tgken, and imprisoned there, besides sotne 
private gentlemen, who had been dragged from their own homes to that 
filthy place by tories. Several of every denomination mentioned, died 
there, some before, and others after I was put tliere. 

The history of the proceedings relative to the provost only, were T 
particular, would swell a volume larger than this whole narrative. I 
shall therefore only notice such of the occurences which are mostly ex- 

Capt. Vandyke bore, with an uncommon fortitude, near twenty months' 
confinement in this place, and in the mean time was very serviceable to 
others who were confined with him. The allegation against him, as the 

43 ETHAN Allen's 

cause of liis confinement, was very extraordinary. He was accused of 
setting fire to the city of New-York, at the time the west part of it was 
consumed, wlien it was a known fact, that he had been in tlie provost a 
week before tiie fire broke out ; and in like manner, frivolous were the 
ostensible accusations against most of those who were there confined ; 
the case of two militia officers excepted, who were taken in their at- 
tempting to escape from their parole ; and probably there may be some 
other instances which might justify such a confinement. 

Mr. William Miller, a committee man, from West Chester county, 
and state of New York, was taken from his bed in the dead of the night 
by his tory neighbors, and was starved for three days and nights in aa 
apartment of the same gaol ; add to this the denial of fire, and that in a 
cold season of the year, in vvliich time he walked day and night, to 
defend himself against the frost, and when he complained of such a 
reprehensible conduct, the word rebel or committee man was deemed 
by the enemy a sufficient atonement for any inhumanity that they could 
invent or infiict. He was a man of good natural understanding, a close 
and sincere friend to the liberties of America, and endured fourteen 
months' cruel imprisonment with that magnanimity of soulj which reflects 
honor on himself and country. 

Major Levi Wells, and Capt. Ozias Bissel. were apprehended and 
taken under guard from their parole on Long-Island, to the provost, on 
as fallacious pretences as the former, and were tiiere continued till their 
exchange took place which was near five monihs. Tiieir fidelity and 
zealous attachment to their country's cause, which was more than conv 
monly conspicuous was undoubtedly the real cause of their confinement. 

Major Brinton Payne, Capt. Flahaven, and Capt. Randolph, who had 
at diilerent times distinguished themselves by their bravery, especially at 
the several actions, in which they were taken, were all tlie provocation 
they gave, for wiiich they sufiered about a year's confinement, each in 
the same filthy gaol. 

A few weeks aficr my confinement, on tlie like fallacious and wicked 
pretences, was brought to the same place, from his parole on Long-Island, 
Major Oiho Holland Williams now a full Col. in the continental army. 
In his character are united the gentleman, officer, soldier, and friend ; 
he walked through the prison with an air of great disdain ; said he, " Is 
this the treatment which gentlefnen of the continental army are to expect 
from the rascally British, when in their power? Heavens forbid it I'' 
He was continued there about five monihs, and then exchanged for a 
British Major. 

John Fell, Esq. now a member of Congress for the state of New-Jer- 
sey, was taken, from his own house by a gang of infamous tories, and by 
order of a British General was sent to the provost, where lie was conti- 
nued near one year. The stench of the gaol, which was very loathsome 
and unhealthy, occasioned a hoarseness of the lungs, which proved fatal 
to many who were tliere confined, and reduced this gentleman near to 
the point of death ; he was indeed given over by his friends who were 
about him, and himself concluded he must die. I could not endure the 
Jhought that so worthy a friend to America should have his life stolen 


from lilm in such a mean, base, and scandalous manner, and that his 
family and friends siiould be bereaved of so great and desirable a bless- 
ing, as his further care, usefulness and example, might prove to them. 
i therefore wrote a letter to George Robertson, who commanded in town, 
and being touched with the most sensible feelings of humanity, which 
dictated my pen to paint dying distress in such lively colors that it 
wrought conviction even on the obduracy of a British General, and pro- 
duced his order to remove the now honorable John Fell, Esq. out of a 
gaol, to private lodgings in town ; in consequence of which he slowly 
recovered his jjeaUh. There is so extraordinary a circumstance which 
intervened concerning tins letter, that it is vvortli noticing. 

Previous to sending it, I exhibited the same to the gentleman on whose 
behalf it was written, for his approbation, and he forbid me to send it in 
the most positive and explicit terms ; liis reason was, " That the enemy 
knew, by every morning's report, the condition of all the prisoners, mine 
in particular, as I have been gradually coming to my end for a consider- 
able time, and they very well knew it, and likewise determined it should 
be accomplished, as they had served many others ; that, to ask a favor, 
would give the merciless enemy occasion to triumph over me in my last 
moments, and therefore I will ask no favors from them, but resign my- 
self to my supposed fate." But the letter I sent without his know ledge, 
and I confess I had but little expectations from it, yet could not be easy 
till I had sent it. I may be worth a remark, that this gentleman was an 
Englishman born, and from the beginning of the revolution has invari- 
ably asserted and maintained the cause of liberty. 

The Bjjitish have made so extensive an improvement of tlie prevost 
during tiie present revolution till of late, that a very short definition will 
be sufficient for the dullest apprehensions. It may be with propriety 
called the British inquisition, and calculated to support their oppressive 
measures and designs, by suppressing the spirit of liberty ; as also a 
place to confine t'le criminals, aiid most infamous wretches of their own 
army, where many gentlemen of the American army, and citizens there- 
of, were promiscuously confined, wiih every species of criminals ; but 
they divided into different apartments, and kept at as great a remove as 
circumstances permitted ; but it was nevertheless at the option of a vil- 
lainous sergeant, who had the charge of the provost, to lake any gentle- 
man from their room, and put tlicm into the dungeon, which was often 
the case. At two dill'erent times I was taken down stairs for that pur- 
pose, by a file of soldiers wit;i fixed bayonets, and the sergeant l)rand- 
ishing his sword at the same time, and having been brought to the door 
of the dungeon, I there flattered the vanity of the sergeant, whose name 
was Keef. by which means I procured the surprizing favor to return to 
my companions ; but some of the high mettled young gentlemen could 
not bear his insolence, and determined to keep at a distance, and neither 
please nor disidease the villain, but none could keep clear of his abuse; 
l)ovvever, mild measiues were the best ; he did not hesitate to call us 
damned rebels, and use us with the coarsest language. The Capts. 
Flahaven, Randolph and Mercer, were the objects of his most flagrant 
and repeated abuses, who were many times taken to the dungeon, and 

44 ETHAN Allen's 

there continued at his pleasure. Capt. Flahaven took cold in the dun- 
geon, and was in a declining state of health, but an exchange delivered 
hiin, and in all probabiiiiy saved his life. It was very mortifying to 
bear vvitli the insolence of such a vicious and ill-bred, imperious rascal, 
llemonstrnnces against liim were preferred to the commander of the 
town, but no relief could be obtained, for his superiors were undoubt- 
edly well pleased with his abusive conduct to the gentlemen, under the 
severities of his power ; and remonstrating against his infernal conduct, 
only served to confirm him in authority ; and for this reason I never 
made any remonstrances on the subject, but only stroked him, for I 
knew that he was but a cat's paw in the hands of the British officers, 
and that, if he should use us vvel!^ he would immediately be put out of 
that trust, and a v/orse man appointed to succeed him ; but there was 
no need of making any new appointment ; for Cunningham, their pro- 
vost marshal!, and Keef, his dcfjuty, were as great rascals as their army 
could boast of, except one Joshua Loring, an infamous tory, who was 
commissionary of prisoners ; nor can any of these be supposed to be 
equally criminal with Gen. Sir William Howe and his associates, who 
prescribed and directed the murders and cruelties, which were by them 
perpetrated. Loring is a monster ! — There is not his like in liuman 
shape. He exhibits a smiling countenance, seems to wear a phiz of 
humanity, but has been instrumentally capable of the most consumate 
acts of wickedness, which were first projected by an abandoned British 
council clotl'.ed with the authority of a Howe, murdering premeditated- 
ly, in cold blood, near or quite two tliousand helpless prisoners, and 
that in the most clandestine, mean and shameful manner, at New-York. 
He is the most mean spiiilcd, cowardly, deceitful, and destructive ani- 
mal in God's creation below, and legions of infernal devils, with all their 
tremendous horrors, are impatiently ready to receive Howe and him, 
with all their detestable accomplices, into the most exquisite agonies of 
the hottest regions of hell fue..'^' 

The 6lh day of July, 1777, Gen. St. Clair, and the army under his 
command, evacuatad Ticonderoga, and retreated with the main body 
through Hubbardlon into Castleton, which was but six miles distant, 
when iiis rear-guard, commanded by Col. Seth VVurner, was attacked at 
Hubbarton by a body of the enemy of about two thousand, commanded 
by General Frascr. Warner's command consisted of his own and two 
other regiments, viz. Francis's and Hale's, and some scattering and en- 
feebled soldiers. His whole number, according to information, was near 
or quite one thousand : part of Vv-hich were Green Mountain Boys, about 
seven hundred out of the whole he brought into action. The enemy 
advanced boldly, and the two bodies formed within about sixty yards of 
each other. Col. Warner having formed his own regiment, and that of 
Col, Francis's did not wait for the enemy, but gave them a heavy fire 
from his whole line, and they returned it with great bravery. It was 

* The publishers wouU suppress some of the language and expressli.ns Col. Al- 
len occasionally makes use of, but presuming the reader to malie all reasonable 
allowance, both for the style and the matter, it was thought most eligible to give 
the narrative in the very dress furnished by the author. 

NiRnATirE. 45 

by this time dangerous for those of both parties, who were not prepared 
for the world to come ; but Colonel Hale being apprised of the danger, 
never brought his regiment to the char2,e, but left Warner and Francis 
to stand the blowing of it, and fled, but luckily fell in with an inconsi- 
derable number of the enemy, and to liis eternal shame, surrendered 
himself a prisoner. 

The conflict was very bloody. Col. Francis fell in the same, but 
Col. Warner, and the officers under his command, as also the soldiery, 
behaved with great resolution. The eneniy broke, and gave way on 
the rigi)t and left, but formed again, and renewed liie attack ; in the 
mean time the British grenadiers, in the center of the enemy's line, 
maintained the ground, and finally carried it with the point of the bay- 
onet, and Warner retreated with reluctance. Our loss was about thirty 
men killed, and that of the enemy amounting to three hundred killed, 
including a Major Grant. The enemy's loss I learnt from the confes- 
sion of liieir own officers, when a prisoner with them. I heard them 
likewise complain, that the Green Mountain Boys took sight. The next 
movement of the enemy, of any material consequence, was their invest- 
ing Bennington,* with a design to demolish it, and subject its Moun- 
taineers, to which they had a great aversion, with one hundred and fifty 
chosen men, including tories, with tlie highest expectation of success, 
and having chosen an eminence of strong grouiid, fortified it with slight 
breast works, and two pieces of cannon ; but the government of the 
young state of Vermont, being previously jeahjusy of such an attempt 
of the enemy, and in due time had procured a number of brave militia 
from the government of the state of New-Hani[)shire, who, togetlier witli 
the militia of the north part of Berkshire county, and state of Massachu- 
setts, and the Green Mountain Boys, constituted a body of desperadoes, 
under tne command of the intrepid general Stark, who in number were 
about equal to the enemy. Colonel Herrick, who commnded the Green 
Mountain Rangers, and who was second in command, being thoroughly 
acquainted with the ground where the enemy had fortified, proposed to 
attack them in their works upon all parts, at the same time. This plan 
being adopted by the general and his council of war, the little militia 
brigade of undisciplined heroes, with their long brown firelocks, the 
the best security of a free people, without either cannon or bayonets, 
was, on the 16ih day of August, led on to the attack by their bold com- 
manders, in the face of the enemy's dreadful fire, and to the astonish- 

* The Americans had collected a quantity of s'ores at Bennington ; to destroy 
which as well as to animate the royalists and intimidate the patriots, general Bur- 
goyne detached colonel Baum, with five hundred men and one hundred Indians. 
Colonel Breyman v/as sent to reinforce him, but did not arrive in time. On the 
16th of August, general Stark, with about eight hundred brave militia men attack- 
ed colonel Baum, in his entrenched camp about six miles from Bennington, and 
killed or took prisoners nearly the whole iletachment. The next day colonel Brej'- 
man was attacked and defeated. In these actions, the Americans took about seven 
hundred prisoners, and th 'se successes served to revive the spirits of the people. 
This success however vras in part counterbalanced by the advantages gained ou 
the Mohawk by colonel St. Leger; but this officer, attacking fort Staiiwix, was re- 
pelled, and obliged to abandon the attempt. 


fnent of the vvoild, and burlesque of discipline, carried every part of 
their lines in less than one quarter of an hour after the attack became 
general, took their cannon, killed and captivated more than two-thirds 
of their number, which iminortulized general Staik, and made Benning- 
ton fufnous to posterity. 

Among the enemy's slain was found colonel Baum, their commander, 
a colonel Pfester, who headed an infamous gang of tories, and a large 
part of his command ; and among the prisoners was major Mcibome, 
tiieir second in commnnd, a number of British and Hessian officers, sur- 
geons, &c. and more than one hun(ired of the aforementioned Pfestev's 
command. The prisoners being collected together, were sent to the 
meeting-house in the town, by a strong guard, and Gen. Stark not ima- 
gining any present danger, the militia scattered from him to rest and 
refresh themselves ; in this situation he was on a sudden attacked by a 
reinforcement of one thousand and one hundred of the enemy, com- 
manded by a governer Skene, with two field pieces. They advanced 
in regular order, and kept up an incessant fire, especially from their 
field pieces, and (he remaining mililia retreating slowly before them, 
disputed the ground inch by inc!i. The enemy were heard to halloo to 
them, sa}ing, stop Yard^ees ! In the meantime, Cul. Warner, widi 
about one liundred and thirty men of his regiment, who were not in the 
first action, arrived and attacked the enemy with great fury, L'eing de- 
termined to have ample on account of tiie quarrel at Hubhardton, which 
brought them to a stand, and soon after general Stark and colonel Iler- 
rick, brought on more of the scattered militia, and the action became 
general ; in a few minutes the enemy were forced from their cannon, 
gave way on ail parts and fled, and the shouts of victory were a second 
time proclaimed in favor of the mililia. The enemy's loss in killed and 
prisoners, in these two actions, amounted to more than one thousand 
and two hundrcvi men, and our loss di<l not exceed fifty men. 'J'liis 
was a bitter stroke to the enemy, but t'leir pride would not jtermit them 
to hesitate but that tliey could vanish the country, and as a specimen of 
their arrogancy, I shall insert genera! Burgoync's proclamation:-— 

*•' By John Burgoyne, Esq. Lieutenant-General ofliI& Majc&iy's armies in Amcr- 
ira, Colonel of the Queen's regiment of light drajjoons, Governor of Fort William 
in North Britain, one of the Representatives of the Commons of Great Britain, in 
Parliament, and commanding an aimy and fleet employed on an expedition from 
Canada, &,c. <tc. &e. 

" The forces entrusted to my command are designed to act In concert and upon 
a common principle, Witli the numerous armies and fleets which aheady display in 
every quarter of America, the power, the justice, and, when properly sought, the 
mercy of the King. 

•• The cause, in T*-'.iich the British arms arc thus exerted, applies to the most 
affacting interests of the human heart; and tlie military servants of the crown, at 
first called forth for tlie sole purpose of restoring the rights of the constitution, nojv 
combine with love of their country, and duty to their sovereign, the other extensive 
incitements which spring from a due sense of the general privileges of manldnd. 
To the eyes and ears of the tcmj;e.'-ate part of the public, and to llie breasts of suf- 
fering thousands in the provinces, be the melancholy appeal, whether the present 
unnatural rebellion has not been made a foundationYor the ccmpletest system of 
tyranny that ever God, in his displeasure, suffered for a time to be exercised over 
a froward and stubborn ocacration. 

KARilATirS, ■ 47 

** Arbitrary imprisonment, confiscntion of property, persecution and torture, un- 
precedented in the inquisitions of the Romish Ciiurch. are among tlie palpable 
enoiniities that verity the affirmative. These are inflicted by assemblies and com- 
mittees, who dare to profess tliemselves friends to liberiy. upon the most quiet 
subjects, vvithout distinction of age or sex, tor the sole crime, often for the sole 
euspicion, ol having adhered in rrinciple to the government under vvhich they 
were born, and to which, by every tie. divine and human, they owe allegiance. 
To consummate these shocking proceedings, the pro'anation of religion is added 
to the most profligate prostitution of common reason; the consciences of men are 
set at nought ; and multitudes are compelled not only to bear arms, but also to 
Bwear subjection to an usurpation they abhor. 

" Animated by these considerations, at the head of troofs in the full powers of 
health, discipline, and valor; determined to strike where necessary, and anxious to 
spare where possible, I by these presents invite and exhort all persons, in all places 
where the progress of this army may point; and by the blessing of God I will ex- 
tend it far to maintain such a conduct as may justiiy me in protecting their lands, 
habitations and families. The intention of this address is to hold forth security, 
not depredation to the country. To those wiiom spirit and principle may induce 
to partake of the glorious task of redeeming their countrymen from dungeons, and 
re-establishing the blessings of legal government, 1 oiler encouragement and em- 
ployment ; and upon the first intelii; ent^e of their associations. I will find means to 
assist; their undertakings. The domestic, the industrious, the infirm, and even the 
timid inhabitants I am desirous to protect, provided they remain quietly at their 
houses; that they do not suffer their cattle to be removed, nor their corn or forage 
to be secreted or destroyed ; that they do not break up their bridges or roads : nor 
by any other act, directly or indrectly, endeavour to obs ruct the operations of the 
king's troops, or supply or assist those ot" the enemy. Every species of provision 
brought to my camp, will be paid for at an equitable rate, and in solid coin. 

'• In consciousness of Christianity, my royal master's clemancy. and the honor of 
soldiership, I have dw It upon this invitation, and wished lor more persuasive 
terms to give it impression. And let not people be led to disregard it by cons der- 
ing the.r distance from the immediate situation of my camp. — I have but to give 
stretch to the Indian forces under my direction. E.nd they amount to thousands, to 
overtake the hardened enemies of Gre..t Britain and America : I consider theru 
the same wherever thej?- may lurk. 

'• It" notwithstanding these endeavours, and sincere inclinations to effect them, 
the phrensy of hostdity should remain, I trust I shall stand acquitted in the eyes of 
God and man, in denouncing and executing the vengeance of the state against the 
wilful outcasts. The messengers of justice and of wrath await them in the field; 
and devastation, famine, and every concomitant horror that a reluctant but indis^ 
pensible prosecution of military duty must occasion, will bear the way to their r&-" 
turn. J. BUIIGOYNE. 

" By order of his Excclleney the Lieut. General, 

RoBEHT Kingston. Sec. 

'• Camp near Ticonderoga. 4th July, 1777." 

Gen. Burgoyne was still the toast, and the severities towards the 
prisoners were in great measure increased or diminislied, in proportion 
to the expectation of conqtiest. His very ostentations Proclamation was 
in the hand and mouth of most of the sohiiery, especially the lories, 
and from it, their faith was raised to assurance. 1 wish my countrymen 
in general could but have an idea of the assuming tyranny, and haughty, 
malevolent, and insolent behavior of the enemy at that time ; and from 
thence discern the intolerable calamities vvliich this country have extri- 
cated themselves from by their public spiriledness and bravery. The 
downfall of Gen. BurgoynC;* and surrender of his whole army, dashed 

* General Burgoyne, after colleeting his forces and stores, crossed the Hudson 
with a view to penetrate to A.lbany. But the American army being reinlbrced 


the nspirlng ho];es and expectations of the enemy, and brought low tho 
imperious spirit of an opulent, puissant and haughty nation, and made 
the tories bite the ground with anguish, exalting the valor of the free- 
born sons of America, and raised their fame and that of their brave 
commnnrlers to the clouds, and iiiimortnlized Gen. Gates with laurels of 
elernal duration. No sooner had the knnvvledge of this interesting and 
mighty event reached His Most Christian Majesty, who in Europe shines 
with a superior lustre in goodness, policy and arms, but (he illustrious 
potentate, auspiciously influenced by Heaven to promote the reciprocal 
interest and hiippiness of t!ie ancient kingdom of France, and the new 
and rising states of America, passed the great and decisive decree, that 
the United States of America, should be free and independent. Vaunt 
no more, Old England ! consider you are but an island ! and that your 
power has been continued longer than the exercise of your humanity. 
Order your broken and vanquis'ied battalions to retire from America, 
the scene of your cruelties. Go ho^e and repent in dust and sackcloth 
for your aggravated crimes. The cries of bereaved parents, widows and 
orphans, reach the heavens, and you are abominated by every friend to 
America. Take your friends the tories with you, and be gone, and 
drink deep of cup of humiliation. Make peace with the princes of the 
house of Bourbon, for you are in no condition to wage war with them. 
Your veteran soldiers are filien in An)erica, and your glory is departed. 
Be quiet and |>ay your debts, especially for the hire of the Hessians. 
There is no other way for you to get into credit again, but by reforma- 
tion and plain honesty, wliich you have despised ; for your power is by 
no means sufficient to support your vanity. ' I have had opportunity to 
see a great deal of it, and felt its severe effects, and learned lessons of 
wisdom and policy, when I wore your heavy irons, and bore your bitter 
revilings and reproaches. I have something of a smattering of philoso- 
phy, and understand human nature in all its stages tolerably well ; am 
tiioroughly acquainted with your national crimes, and assure you that 
they not only cry aloud for Heaven's vengeance, but excite mankind 
to rise up against you. Virtue, wisdom and policy are in a national 
sense, always connected with jiower, or in other words, power is their 
offspring, and such power as is not directed by virtue, wisdom and po- 
licy never fails finally to destroy itself as yours has done. — It is so in 
the nature of things, and unfit thai it would be otlierwise ; for if it was 
not so, vanity, injustice, and oppression, miglit reign triumphant forever. 

daily, held liim in check nt Saratoga. General Gates now took the command, and 
was aided by the generals Lincoln and Arnold. On the 19th of September, the 
Americans attacked the British army, and with sacli bravery, that the enemy could 
boast of no advantage, and night put an end to the action. The loss of the enemy 
was about five hundred. General Burgoyne was confined in a narrow pass — hav- 
ing the Hudson on one side and impissable woods on the other — a body of Ameri- 
cans was in his rear — his boats he had ordered to he burnt, and he could not re- 
treat — while an army of thirteen thousand men opposed him in front. On the 7th 
of October, the armies came to a second action, in which the British lost General 
Frazer. with a great number of officers and men, and were driven within their 
lines. On the part of the Americans the loss was not great, but generals Lincoln 
and Arnold were wounded. 


! know you have individuals, who still retain their virtue, and conse- 
quently their honor and humanity. Those I really pity, as they must 
more or less sufier in the calamity, in which the nation is plunged head- 
long ; but as a nation I hate and despise you. 

My affections are Frenchified. I glory in Louis the sixteenth, the 
generous and powerful allf of these states ; am fond of a connection with 
so enterprising, learned, polite, courteous and commercial a nation, and 
am sure that I express the sentiments and feelings of all the friends to 
the present revolution. I begin to learn the French tongue, and recom- 
mend it to my countrymen, before Hebrew, Greek or Latin, (provided 
but one of them only are to be attended to) for the trade and commerce 
of these states in future must inevitably shift its channel from England 
to France, Spain and Portugal ; and therefore the statesman, politician 
and merchant, need be acquainted with their several languages, particu- 
larly the French, vviiich is much in vogue in most parts of Europe. No- 
thing could have served so effectually to illuminate, polish and enrich 
these states as the present revolution, as well as preserve their liberty. 
Mankind are naturally too national, even to a degree of bigotry, and 
commercial intercourse with foreign nations, has a great and necessary 
tendency to improve mankind, and erase the superstition of the mind 
by acquainting them that human nature, policy and interest, are . the 
same in all nations, and at the same time they are bartering commodi- 
ties for the conveniences and happiness of each nation, they may reci- 
procally exchange such part of the'^r customs and manners as may be 
beneficial, and learn to extend charity and good will to the whole world 
of mankind. 1 was confined in the provost-goal at New-York, the 26tli 
day of August, and continued there to the 3d day of May, 1778, when 
I was taken out under guard, and conducted to a sloop in the harbor at 
New-York, in which I was guarded to Staten-Island, to general Camp- 
bell's quarters, where I was admitted to eat and drink with the general 
and several other of the British field officers, and treated for two days 
in a polite manner. As I was drinking wine with them one evening, J 
made an observation on my transition from the provost criminals to the , 
company of gentlemen, adding that I was the same man still, and should 
give the British credit, by him (speaking to the general) for two days 
good usage. 

The next day colonel Archibald Campbell, who was exchanged for 
me, came to this place, conducted by Mr. Boudinot, the then American 
commissary of prisoners, and saluted me in a handsome manner, saying 
that he never was more glad to see any gentleman in his life, and I 
gave him to understand that I was equally glad to see him, and was 
apprehensive that it was from the same motive. The gentlemen present 
laughed at tlie fancy and conjectured that sweet liberty was the found- 
ation of our gladness : so we took a glass of wine together, and then I 
was accompynied by general Campbell, colonel Campbell, Mr. Boudinot 
and a number of British officers, to the boat which was ready to sail to 
Elizabeth-tov/n-point. Meanwhile I entertained them with a rehearsal 
of the cruelties exercised towards our prisoners ; and assured them that 
1 should use my influence, that their prisoners should be treated, in 
future, in the same manner, as thev should in future treat ours ; that I 

50 ETHAN Allen's narrative. 

thought it wi s right in such extreme cases, that their example should 
be applied to their own prisoners ; then exchanged the decent ceremo- 
nies of compliment, and parted. I sailed to the point aforesaid, and, in 
a transport of joy, landed on liberty ground, and as I advanced into the 
country, received the acclamations of a grateful people. 

I soon fell into company with colonel Sheldon, of the light horse, 
who in a polite and obliging tiianner accompanied me to head quarters, 
Valley Forge, where I was courteously received by Gen. Washington, 
with peculiar marks, of his approbation and esteem, and was introduced 
to most of the generals, and many of the principal officers of the army, 
who treated me with respect, and after having offered general Wash- 
ington my further service in behalf of my country, as soon as my health, 
which was very much impaired, would admit, and obtain his license to 
return home, I took my leave of his excellency, and set out from Valley 
Forge with general Gates and Ins suit for Fisfikill, where we arrived the 
latter end of May. In this tour the general was pleased to treat me 
with the. familiarity of a companion, and generosity of a lord, and to 
him I made known some striking circumstances which occurred in the 
course of my captivity. I then bid farewell to my noble general and 
the gentlemen in his retinue, and set out for Bennington, the capital of 
the Green Mountain Boys, where I arrived the evening of the last day 
of May to their great surprise; for I was thought to be dead, and now 
both their joy and mine was complete. Three cannon were fired that 
evening, and next morning colonel Herrick gave orders, and fourteen 
more were discharged, welcoming me to Bennington, my usual place of 
abode ; thirteen for the United States, and one for Young Vermont. 

After this ceremony was ended we moved the flowing bowl, and rural 
felicity, sweetened with friendship, glowed m each countenance, and, 
with loyal healths to the rising States of America, concluded that even-= 
ing, and, with the same loyal spirit, I now conclude my narrative. 







Corner of Church and College Streets ( Up Stairs.) 


They publish and supply the Trade with all of Hon. D. P.' 
THOMPSON'S popular 

Whose very popular and interesting Tales, have won for him' 
a reputation which we may truly say is enviable. 

We have constantly on hand a large assortment of Cheap 
Publications, Prints, Cards, &c. <fcc,, suitable to the Trade. 

Will find this establishment one of peculiar importance to 
them, it being the only one of the kind north of Troy. Any 
books published by us may be had at retail,' or otherwise, or 
any information given in regard to books, <fcc., at our 

Of E. B. Whiting, St. Albans, Vt.; Stoddard & Gookin,R^it- 
land, Vt. ; Charles Greenleaf, Winooski City ; Wm. Reed, 
Plattsburgh, N. Y. ; Dr. L. C. Butler, Clintonville, N. Y. and 
D. J. Cook, Moriah, N. Y. 

A few honest, active and intelligent young men, to Peddle 
Books, &c. To such, ^& offer a Rare Chance, seldom if ev- 
er met with, of engaging in a pleasant and profitable business 
A small cash capital of from 10 to $50, necessary. 
All orders, &c., must be addressed to 

Wickware Buildings 
Bdrlingtonj Vt.